Jun 23, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorSpencer Smithbaker had an eye-opening experience on the baseball diamond this month in Omaha, Neb.
The Lander 13-year-old played on the Casper Crush Under-13 team in a Triple Crown tournament.
Last fall, the right-hander tried out for the team and made it.
John Smithbaker, his father, coached Spencer in Lander Little League prior to this year.
Spencer plays third, first and pitches for the Casper team.
"They try to be very competitive for Wyoming," John Smithbaker said. "They travel all around. This was just a great tournament. We got to see teams as far away as Georgia, Missouri, Illinois and Nebraska. They competed very well. It was just a great way for Spencer to open his eyes to competitive world of baseball."
The team played in the Under-13 division.
"It allows him to get game experience and competitive experience," John said. "To improve your game skills that is what you need.
It opened Spencer's eyes on how much work, he still needs to do to be competitive. It's just a lot of fun trading pins. It's a lot of effort, but hopefully it turns into some baseball later on."
Spencer plays football in the fall.
"Spencer just wants to have some fun playing baseball," John said. "He has a goal of playing college baseball."
In pool play, the Casper Crush qualified for the championship bracket, knocking off teams from Missouri and Illinois in pool play baseball.
In bracket play, Casper beat the same Illinois team 4-1. Smithbaker pitched the last inning.
"He didn't allow any runs to score," John said.
"Spencer was able to pick somebody off on the mound. He hit well the whole tournament."
Spencer smacked two home runs in the tournament.
The Crush qualified for the Triple Crown World Series tournament later on the summer in Steamboat Springs, Colo., in the third week of July.
Spencer Smithbaker is expecting to play close to 75 games this summer.
"They are usually long weekends," his father said.
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