CLASS 1A BASEBALL WEEKLY PREVIEW
BY: KERRY SHERMAN
It’s that time of the season where we start keeping an eye on the CHSAA Selection and Seeding Index, as the teams as starting to get enough games played to where the data is a little more in-depth. This week features some really big match-ups, with doubleheaders featuring four of the top five in the Tuesday morning Index. All rankings mentioned are according to that most recent release.
After dropping the first two games of the season to #1 Haxtun, Akron has reeled off seven straight wins, boosting the Rams to #4 in the Seeding Index. The most recent wins in that streak came on Monday, when Akron swept a doubleheader at 2A Sedgwick County, 9-1 and 11-1.
Anderson Filla gave up one unearned run and struck out 16 in a complete game to get the day started. Akron’s offense struggled early in game two, but erupted for nine runs in the top of the fifth. Caleb Poss collected the win in the five inning, run-rule contest, allowing one earned run.
While a number of top-15 teams are in action on Tuesday, the highlight of the schedule is a doubleheader between #8 Wiley and #5 Holly. Both teams enter the afternoon with 7-2 records. Holly has won six straight, including a 16-0 win over Manzanola last Tuesday. That game draws mention because of Devin Eaton’s no-hitter. The sophomore has a 3.41 ERA in 12.1 innings this season. He’s struck out 18.
Wiley has also won six in a row entering the day. Evan Larrick hit for the cycle in last Friday’s 15-4 win over Dolores Huerta Prep. His 4-4 day pushed his season average to .739, with the junior collecting hits in 17 of 23 at bats on the year.
The last team to beat Wiley is #9 McClave, who has won its last three since splitting that DH two weeks back. The Cards will visit Granada, who has only played two games so far because of weather postponements. The two squads will play a doubleheader. Aiden Martinez will look to extend his hot start to the season for McClave, as five of his 11 hits have gone for extra bases.
Other big games on the day include #4 Cheyenne Wells putting its 6-0 mark on the line at La Veta, Haxtun trying to improve to 9-0 with a contest at Briggsdale, #10 Stratton hosting Manzanola, and #12 Cotopaxi attempting to get back on track after dropping its last outing to Custer County last Monday. The Pirates (5-1) host Elbert in league play.
Two games on the Thursday slate catch ones attention. First, Haxtun hosts #6 Otis in a match-up of teams that started the week a combined 15-1. Otis had ran out to a 6-0 start before dropping the opener of a doubleheader with Stratton on Saturday, 18-3. The Bulldogs bounced back to win game two of the series by a 9-3 count. JJ Ward and Peyton Wells have been tearing the cover off the ball, with Ward hitting .800 and Wells checking in at .731. Both have 18 RBI on the season.
Haxtun has scored double figures in five of its first eight games, including three straight entering the week. Keegan Colglazier had six doubles in his first six games of the season and his nine RBI were second on the team in that stretch. The Fightin’ Bulldogs had a team ERA of 2.86 in those six games.
The other big game has McClave visiting 2A #7 Fowler. We’ll break that game down in our 2A preview for the week.
The first of the two doubleheaders this weekend with top-five teams sees Holly visiting Cheyenne Wells. Holly’s lineup presents problems because of the power throughout. Five players already have home runs this season, with Julian Terrazas having two. He also owns a pair of triples, one back of Andre Salgado. And Truman King has eight of the 30 doubles already collected by the Wildcats.
Cheyenne Wells only recorded five extra base hits in its first six games, with Alex Mitchek having two. Blake Gilmore led the Tigers with a .583 average and nine RBI.
Two other doubleheaders to keep an eye on have Dove Creek visiting Sanford and Akron traveling to Caliche. Caliche is 14th in the Seeding Index and the Buffs had won two of three prior to being swept by #2 Merino last Tuesday. Caliche did not score in either game.
Dove Creek has been a fixture in the postseason over recent years, so a 3-6 start wasn’t expected for the Bulldogs. They dominated Grand Valley over the weekend, winning 13-0 and 33-1. Their pitchers allowed one hit in each contest.
Sanford had 10 days off between games, with a road game at Sierra Grande on Tuesday being the first action for the Mustangs since April 1st. The Mustangs were swept by Nucla back on that date, 13-4 and 17-2.
Merino and Haxtun meet for a pair on Saturday, in what many believe could be a title game preview. Merino has allowed four runs or less in every contest to date, with three shutouts. Prior to the sweep of Caliche, the Rams had an ERA of 0.62, which went down following the two shutouts.
It’s a different kind of doubleheader for Stratton, as the Eagles will start the day in McClave and finish in Granada. Stratton has not won consecutive since a three-game streak early in the year. The Eagles hosted 2A #4 Limon on Friday in a Union Pacific contest that will be looked at in the 2A preview. Stratton is very aggressive on the bases, with 62 stolen bases entering the week. Cyler Notter leads with 13 swipes.
Flatirons Academy began the week just outside of the top-10 in the Seeding Index. With three games this week against 2A opponents, the Bison could climb the standings with at least two wins. The game that draws the most attention is Saturday’s clash with 2A #20 Front Range Christian.
Noah Evans leads the Bison in hits, extra base hits, and RBI, and his .440 average is second on the squad to Carson Gabbert (.529). Parker Wilson is 2-0 on the mound for the Bison, having allowed one earned run in nine innings. The sophomore has struck out 23 and walked five.
Front Range Christian had won five of six ahead of Tuesday’s game at Dayspring Christian. The Falcons beat Denver Academy (13-0) and Gilpin County (17-1) on Saturday.