McALESTER — The 2013 Jr. Sunbelt ended last week, with Arizona beating Colorado in the championship Wednesday at Mike Deak Field. Here’s a look at each team’s final record, plus a look back on how the team did last year.
2013 record: 9-1, tournament champion
Having gone 7-2 during the round robin portion and then lost the 2012 championship, Arizona clearly came back stronger this year. Arizona won one more game heading into the medal round, took a lead midway through the championship game against Colorado and never looked back, winning its first title since 2008. The team fielded three All-Stars, plus tournament Outstanding Pitcher Calvin Lebrun and Most Valuable Player Luis Gonzalez.
2013 record: 7-3, second place
No team improved more in a year than Colorado, which last year won just two games in the regular season, beating one-win Oklahoma Blue in the ninth-place game. Colorado’s 2013 squad flipped its record, going 7-2, including final-day wins against both Tennessee and Texas that leapfrogged Colorado over both teams in the standings and into the championship game.
With a roster composed entirely of juniors, the 2014 Colorado squad will feature an entirely new group of ballplayers. But whether the state that only joined the Sunbelt five years ago continues to be an elite team or regresses to its 2012 form, the 2013 Colorado team was easily the breakthrough team of the tournament.
For more on this story, see the print or electronic editions of the McAlester News-Capital. Click here for print edition home delivery or click here to see the Smart Edition for your computer, tablet, e-reader or smartphone.