Baseball League Breakdowns




Before the week ends, the calendar will flip to April and the season will have less than two months remaining. There’s no shortage of key match-ups on the schedule, and they begin on Tuesday. Keep in mind that all games are weather permitting. Any rankings used in the preview come from the most recent coaches poll.


Third-ranked Limon picked up a third straight win by beating Wiggins 7-6 last Tuesday, with Lance Beedy driving in three runs. Trey Smith was the beneficiary, as he picked up the win after allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits and three walks, while striking out eight.

The winning streak was snapped by #2 Buena Vista, 8-3, last Friday. The Demons took control with a four-run third. Keon Bandy was saddled with the loss despite only allowing one earned run in four innings. Six of the eight runs allowed by Limon pitchers were unearned. The Badgers came back to beat 1A #4 Simla 14-4 and 2A #6 Denver Christian 8-7 to wrap up the tournament.

Limon was supposed to make the short trip to Byers on Monday for a league contest, but that was pushed back a day by snow. Byers snapped its five-game losing streak with its first win of the year, 20-8 last Thursday. The Bulldogs had scored a total of 11 runs in their first five games of the year. Darren Egger (4) and Drew Mohatt (3) combined to score seven times, and Chas Butterfield drove in three.

The loss to Limon was the first of the season for Denver Christian, who led 7-5 going to the top of the seventh. The Thunder allowed a three-spot in the inning and could not rally in the bottom half of the frame. Only three of the eight runs allowed were earned. Denver Christian is spending the next few days in Arizona, competing in the Coach Bob Invitational. The Thunder opened with Astoria (OR), and will also square off with Blanchet Catholic (OR), Neah-Kah-Nie (OR), and Taft (OR) throughout the week.

Fifth-ranked Rye returns to the field after a two-week absence. The Thunderbolts picked up a big 8-3 win over #4 St. Mary’s in their last outing and now visit Florence, who has lost four straight to open the season. That includes a 10-0 loss to Rye in the season-opener for both.

Rye scored four in the bottom of the first in that initial meeting, and never let up, claiming the win in four and a half innings. Axton Ehrlich scored twice and drove in two more, while Riley Rochester earned the victory by throwing two perfect innings. He stuck out five of the six hitters he faced.

Clear Creek starts the week sitting 13th in the rankings, and will be seeing its first action in nearly two weeks. The Golddiggers beat Ellicott 11-1 on the 15th, with Connor Kennedy allowing one unearned run in five innings. The senior struck out 10. The Golddiggers visit Sheridan, who is playing its first contest of the season.

Meeker is another team that received votes this week, but not enough to crack the top-10. The Cowboys swept Nucla 14-2 and 16-5 just over 10 days ago. Finley Deming reached base all six appearances in those wins, and scored four runs. Jake Blazon went 6-6 with two walks, two doubles, six runs scored, and six RBI. Jonathan Fitzgibbons also had six RBI, tying for second behind Ryan Sullivan, who used a pair of triples to help him drive in eight.

North Fork dropped three games in tournament play last weekend, with the Miners begin outscored 29-10 during the event. Yandel Guereque had three extra base hits in the tournament, including a home run. The senior has a 1.822 OPS with 12 total bases from his five hits this season.

Eighth-ranked Burlington was scheduled to travel east for a doubleheader against neighboring Goodland (KS), but those games have been postponed after the snow that fell over the weekend and on Monday. No make-up date has been announced.


Top-ranked Peyton seeking its seventh straight win to open the season highlights the Thursday slate. The Panthers have outscored their opponents 77-11 so far, and they put early pressure on the opposition, averaging nearly three runs in the first inning this year. The scoring goes up the second time through the order, as they score close to five in the third. Four players already have at least eight RBI on the season. Bryce Love and Logan Nickell each have eight to their credit, while AJ Kranz is one ahead. Owen Compton leads with 11.As a team, the Panthers have 11 extra base hits, including home runs from Compton and Kranz.

Tasked with stopping the runaway train is Crowley County, who is clinging to a spot in those receiving votes. The Chargers finished their share of the tournament they co-host with Fowler with a 1-2 mark. The losses were by two and one, and they beat Dayspring Christian 9-8 to wrap up the event. Freshman Landon Smith leads the team with six RBI, one in front of Byars Brown.

After dropping all three games in the Fowler/Crowley County tourney, Dayspring Christian dropped to 10th in the coaches poll last Monday. The Eagles responded with wins over SkyView Academy (15-0) and Briggsdale (19-2) last week, and dropped completely out of the top-10 this week. Those wins brought the Eagles back over the .500 mark on the season ahead of their home clash with Rocky Mountain Lutheran. Luke Downing drove in three runs against SkyView Academy, supporting Gage Davis, who tossed four scoreless innings of three-hit ball. The sophomore punched out eight in the victory.

Rocky Mountain Lutheran hit the field on Tuesday against Arupe Jesuit, ending a streak of 17 days off for the Eagles. Prior to that outing, their last contest was a 15-7 loss to Clear Creek. Jones Stephenson was a terror on the bases, swiping four bags in the loss. Seven errors led to five unearned runs.

Trinidad joins Dayspring Christian in the unranked but receiving votes section of the poll this week, and the Miners have a big clash with 3A La Junta to open the American Family Insurance Tournament in La Junta. The Miners broke a two-game slide with a 15-10 win over Las Animas last Saturday in tournament play. Trinidad led 14-2 after three innings, but the Trojans made things interesting with an eight-spot in the bottom of the fifth.

All three of La Junta’s losses came last week against Arizona schools in the Coach Bob Invitational. The Tigers were outscored 28-6 in those three losses. The bats came back to life on Monday, as they posted a 17-9 win at Pueblo Centennial. La Junta trailed 5-3 entering the sixth, and after pushing six across the plate, the Tigers led 9-6. They added eight more in the seventh to gain enough cushion to survive a late rally attempt by the Bulldogs.

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While Trinidad will have to wait to see who will be up next in the La Junta tourney, St. Mary’s knows that it will have a tough challenge in 3A Alamosa on Friday. It will be the first of two games on the day for the Pirates, who have won four straight since opening the season with a loss to Rye. The first two wins in that streak came against #9 Swink, with the other two coming at the expense of #7 Fowler. Peter Ghigleri has recorded 22 strikeouts in 14 innings on the hill.

Alamosa enters the contest having dropped two of its last three and has been outscored 24-9 in those last three games. The Mean Moose have only accumulated four extra base hits in the first six games, all doubles. Grady West has two of them. Defense has been a bit sketchy in the early going with 17 errors leading to 22 unearned runs.

Tournament play is also on the schedule in Buena Vista, where the #2 Demons will square off against Meeker and Monte Vista on Friday and Bayfield on Saturday. Buena Vista took two out of three games in the Denver Christian tourney, beating Simla 15-5 in their final game there. Tied at five heading to the bottom of the fifth, the Demons ended the game with 10 runs in the frame. Otto Rizzi and Haden Camp each had three RBI in the win.

Monte Vista will be the first to challenge the Demons and it will be the first action for the Pirates in nearly two weeks. They dropped a 13-3 decision to Fowler in their last outing at the Fowler/Crowley County tournament, in which they gave up three in the first and six in the third. Azariah Hurtado went 3-3 with a double, a run scored, and a run driven in.

The other location for what should be quality competition is Rye, where the Thunderbolts host Limon for two non-league contests. As a team, Rye has an ERA just over 4.00, but the concerning number is nine hit batters in three games.

Limon has three hitters already with double digit RBI, headed by Beedy with 12. Bandy has 11, and Cale Bennett has recorded 10. Solid defense is usually a trademark of the Badgers, but they’ve already committed 17 errors. That has contributed to 18 unearned runs, more than two and a half per game.


Along with all of the tournaments on the calendar, the Saturday schedule includes a doubleheader between ranked teams, with Fowler visiting Burlington. It will be the first games for Fowler since being swept by St. Mary’s last Saturday. The Grizzlies had a shot at earning a split after dropping the first game 13-3, but they came up just short, falling 6-5 in the nightcap. Hagen McCuiston drove in two of the five runs in the contest, and Harrison Proctor scored twice.

With Tuesday’s doubleheader at Goodland postponed, Burlington will be well rested. The Cougars opened the season with a 5-2 win at home over 1A #8 Stratton last Tuesday and have been off since. Garrett Richardson starred on the mound and at the plate for the Cougars, as he threw five scoreless innings with five strikeouts. He also went 3-3 with two runs scored and a two-run homer. Gabe Roybal added two RBI.

We’re also keeping an eye on the Southern Peaks doubleheader between Ignacio and Del Norte. Both are 2-0 entering the contests, with the visiting Bobcats having swept Dove Creek to open the year, and Del Norte taking two in league play from Sanford. Eppie Quintana got off to a hot start for Ignacio, going 6-8 with nine RBI in the sweep of Dove Creek. Nickolas Atencio drove in five for the Tigers in their two wins over Sanford.

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