CLASS 2A BASEBALL WEEKLY PREVIEW
BY: KERRY SHERMAN
(Author’s note: This week’s previews are delayed due to personal commitments. We will still look at the key games from earlier in the week, while also hitting on the top contests in the second half of the week.)
The regular season is about halfway completed and teams are trying to build momentum as they race towards the postseason. Peyton is the lone unbeaten team in Class 2A, but the Panthers have a lot of challengers lined up, looking to bump them off. All of the rankings mentioned are according to the Thursday morning release of the CHSAA Selection and Seeding Index.
There weren’t many games contested on Monday, and of the few that were played, Swink was the highest ranked team involved. The #24 Lions hosted Las Animas and took a sweep behind scores of 13-3 and 13-7. Hunter Reynolds doubled and drove in four to support Nick Paolucci, who earned the win after allowing three runs (two earned) in five innings. Reynolds wrapped up the day by adding a double, triple, and two RBI in game two, while Landon Mills homered and drove in four. The sweep moved Swink to 6-6 on the season.
Tuesday saw more highly-ranked squads in action, including top-ranked Peyton, who passed a big test in beating #10 Rye 12-5. After Rye struck for two in the top of the first, the Panthers responded with six in the bottom of the frame. They scored in all six innings in which they came to bat. Logan Nickell and Toby Redmond combined to give up just one earned run in seven innings. Joe Valdez connected on his second homer of the season for the Thunderbolts.
In another fight between top-10 squads, #2 Limon got eight runs in the bottom of the first to beat #8 St. Mary’s 12-2. Trey Smith went 4-4 at the dish and drove in five runs for the Badgers. The big blow was a grand slam for the junior. Jordan Rockwell also homered to support Keon Bandy, who did not allow an earned run in his five innings of work.
Fourth-ranked Buena Vista got back on track after last Saturday’s 14-4 loss to Peyton by beating Centauri 12-2. The Demons scored four in the bottom of the first and then blew things wide open with six in the sixth. Kaden Schell drove in three for the Demons.
Sixth-ranked Holyoke ran its winning streak to four with a 7-5 decision on the road against 1A Caliche. Tyson Mosenteen picked up the complete game victory for the Dragons despite allowing two runs in the bottom of the seventh.
It was an interesting day for #18 Wray, who started things by getting walked off at #11 Yuma (8-7) and then heading a little farther west and taking an 11-8 win over 1A #7 Otis. Five errors led to all of the runs against Yuma being unearned. Angel Escobar hit a pair of doubles and a triple for Yuma in that contest. In the win over Otis, Joey Uyemura smacked his first homer of the season, and Chris Arambula raked three doubles.
There were two big upsets on the day, with #7 Del Norte dropping a 3-2 decision to 3A Pagosa Springs, and #12 Ignacio falling to 1A #17 Dove Creek 11-5. None of the runs by either team in the Del Norte game were earned. Nickolas Atencio was the hard-luck loser in that contest, despite allowing only one hit. He surrendered three unearned runs. Iffy defense also proved costly for Ignacio, as seven errors led to eight unearned runs.
In one other game of note, #20 Dawson School picked up an important league win at #21 Dayspring Christian, 5-3. Charles Heathwood went the distance for the Mustangs, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits. The junior walked two and struck out two.
Dawson School made it two straight by taking out 1A Denver Jewish Day, 15-0. Ashtin Gillo reached base four times, twice on walks, along with a double and triple, and drove in two runs. Mustang pitchers allowed two base runners, only one on a hit.
Three of the top five teams in the Selection and Seeding Index will be in action on Thursday, with Peyton, #3 Denver Christian, and #5 Fowler all taking the field. Peyton hosts Ellicott, a team that has dropped three straight, including two by run rule. That skid has dropped the Thunderhawks to 5-5 on the season.
Denver Christian is home against 1A Denver Academy and the Thunder are looking for a seventh straight win. They’re coming off a narrow 3-1 win over Dayspring Christian in league play last Saturday. Mason Reilly gave up one run on two hits in seven innings to get the win. He walked five and punched out 13.
Fowler takes a four-game winning streak into its doubleheader at winless John Mall. The Grizzlies are seeing their first action in a week after beating 1A #8 McClave 4-2 last Thursday. Hagen McCuistion went 3-4 with two triples and three runs scored in that contest. John Mall was swept by McClave on Tuesday, 20-0 and 14-3.
Yuma puts its three-game winning streak on the line at 3A #20 Highland, who is trying to break a four-game skid. Silas Baucke hit his third home run of the season for Yuma in last Friday’s game two win over Sedgwick County. That has him tied for second in Class 2A, one back of Limon’s Keon Bandy.
Colorado Springs Christian steps out of classification to visit 1A #9 Flatirons Academy and the #14 Lions will be looking for a fourth straight win. They’re coming off a 17-3 victory over Florence on Tuesday. Ben Garl drove in four and Luke German added three RBI for the Lions in that win. Flatirons has won three of its last four, including a 20-0 blasting of Gilpin County on Tuesday.
Also on Thursday, #15 Burlington looks to even its mark at 6-6 on the season when the Cougars host Calhan. Burlington went 2-3 last week, getting swept by Holyoke and splitting with Wray, while also taking a road win at Colby in between. Gabe Roybal drove in four runs in the 13-0 win over Wray in game two on Saturday, giving him 20 RBI on the season. He had 18 all of last season. The month got off to a bad start for Calhan, who dropped four straight at one point, but the Bulldogs have won two of the last three. Christian Aljets is top-two for the Bulldogs in almost every offensive category.
While a lot of attention will be paid to the doubleheader between Buena Vista and Cedaredge, a little more just might be at stake in another twin-bill. Swink visits #13 Crowley County and the Lions are one of three teams in the Santa Fe without a league loss, joining Holly and Fowler. Crowley County has already suffered a pair of losses inside league play and sits fifth in the standings. The Chargers travel to Fowler for a doubleheader next Saturday.
Rye visits Colorado Spring Christian for a single non-league game on Friday ahead of next Tuesday’s big non-league clash with Buena Vista. Denver Christian hosts Custer County in non-league play, while Ignacio travels to 3A #4 Bayfield for a non-league tilt.
Three of the ranked teams will meet up with highly-ranked 1A teams on Saturday in doubleheader action. Wray will host the #1 team in the smaller classification, Haxtun, while Holyoke hosts #2 Merino and Yuma welcomes in #3 Akron. All six teams are part of the loaded LPAA.
Other important doubleheaders on Saturday have Ignacio hosting #22 Trinidad, Sargent at Custer County, Del Norte at South Park, and Rangely at 1A Sanford. Two non-league, single contests to keep an eye on have St. Mary’s at Calhan and Burlington hosting 1A #8 McClave.