Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member Aaron Makil and his baseball team, the Sandlot Bulldogs, competed in the Triple Crown World Series in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, July 26-August 1. Makil, along with several teammates, traveled to Colorado with his coach in an RV.
The Bulldogs finished the tournament in 11th place with a 4-2 overall record. The team competed in three pool-play games. Their first two games took place on July 27. The Bulldogs took on the Colorado Springs Aces and defeated them 8-0.
In the next game, the Bulldogs played the Texas Nationals and won the battle in a close game, 8-7. On July 28, the Central California Grizzlies lost to the Bulldogs 7-6. The Bulldogs scored 23 total runs throughout the tournament and allowed 13 runs to be scored against them. In bracket play, the Bulldogs beat the Easton A’s Green 10-2 on July 29, and lost to the HVA Storm Red 10-8 and then the Mac-N-Seitz Red Sox 5-4.
Makil said this was the first time his team competed in the Triple Crown World Series. He was gone for one week and said one of the best parts was traveling. The boys had the chance to bond with each other on the RV and also enjoyed the hotel pool.
“We were playing Xbox on the way there, and some of us were sitting at a table playing cards,” Makil said. “We stayed the night in Flagstaff and then drove the rest of the way the next morning.”
Makil said he played very well in Colorado and the competition was fun.
“Overall there were just better teams at the tournament,” he said. “One of the team’s pitchers threw really hard. In the first game I did not play so well because I was still kind of nervous, but after that I did better and I was able to earn some hits off the good competition. But I knew after the first game I would be fine for the rest of the tournament.”
The competition the Bulldogs has faced in Arizona is very tough, and, according to Makil, the competition was even better in Colorado. “It was great to realize there are great players from different states as well.” Two other teams from Arizona also competed in the tournament, but they did not play against the Sandlot Bulldogs.
Heading into eighth grade at Kino Junior High in Mesa, Makil said he will continue to play baseball when the season resumes shortly, and he said the trip to Colorado with his family was a lot of fun and a great way to end the summer.
“I want to thank everyone in my family for coming out and supporting me in the tournament, and also those who showed their support before I left for Colorado by coming to my fundraisers and helping any way they could,” Makil said.