Baseball Playoff Breakdowns




Just three games remain in the 2023 baseball season for Class 1A, with semifinals and finals being played on Thursday at All City Park in Lakewood. Three of the final four teams were regional hosts, while the fourth began the playoffs sitting first in the CHSAA Selection and Seeding Index. A new champion will be crowned, making it 11 years since a program repeated atop the field. Stratton won three straight titles between 2010 and 2012. The 2020 season was wiped out due to the COVID pandemic.

#4 FLATIRONS ACADEMY (14-5-1) VS #1 HOLLY (20-4)  10AM

Flatirons Academy did not allow a run in its two regional games last Saturday, beating Evangel Christian 10-0 by run-rule in five innings, and then blanking Nucla 9-0 in the championship contest. Parker Wilson went the distance in the semifinal, allowing one hit and one walk, with nine strikeouts. Carson Gabbert and Noah Evans each had a pair of RBI in the win, and Rex Beck stole three bases and scored three runs.

Mateo Pope got the win in the regional final, allowing one hit in five innings. Gabbert worked the final two innings to wrap up the victory. Gabbert, Evans, Wilson, and Pope were each responsible for two RBI. Evans clubbed his first homer of the season for the Bison who are trying to reach their second title game in three seasons.

Like their semifinal opponent, the Holly Wildcats made it through regionals last Saturday without allowing a run. A six-run third inning pushed the Wildcats, and pitcher Devin Eaton, to an 11-0 victory over Cotopaxi in game one. Holly only had six hits, all singles, but received 10 free base runners on seven walks and three hit batters. Julian Terrazas wore two of those HBP and stole five bases. Andre Salgado, who pitched the final two innings, drove in two runs. Eaton gave up three hits and no walks in his four innings.

In the final, it was again the third inning that put the game out of reach. Holly pushed five runs across the plate in that frame and went on to beat Otis 10-0 in five innings. Otis was held to four singles in the contest.

This will be a rematch of the 2021 championship game, while Holly won 1-0 on a solo shot by Jose Magallanes in the sixth inning. Gabbert is the lone member of the Bison squad who played in that game. Salgado, Terrazas, Dylan Tamayo, Roque Torres, and Nick Vasquez all saw action for Holly in that match-up. Since Class 1A was separated from 2A for the championship in 2007, Holly has played in five championship games, winning titles in 2016 and 2021, and finishing second in 2013, 2017, and 2022.

#6 HAXTUN (21-2) VS #2 AKRON (18-6)  12:30PM

Continuing the trend of solid pitching leading to regional wins, Haxtun allowed one run in its two games last weekend. The Fightin’ Bulldogs saw Wiley scratch a run across the dish in the top of the sixth to break a scoreless tie. Haxtun tied it in the bottom of the frame on an RBI triple from Keegan Colglazier, and when Colglazier scored on Michael Gerk’s sacrifice, the Fightin’ Bulldogs had a 2-1 lead. Kaiden Schelling threw 4.2 innings of three-hit ball, and Jerron Turney picked up the win in relief.

Haxtun’s offense made an early impact in the regional final against #3 Simla. Behind a five-run second and a four-run third, the Fightin’ Bulldogs beat the Cubs 10-0 in five innings. Turney went the distance to earn his second win of the day, allowing just two base runners on a hit and a hit batter. He was the beneficiary of five RBI by Mason Bornhoft, who stole a base and scored two runs.

Caleb Poss threw a complete game, two-hit shutout for Akron in its regional semifinal 4-0 victory over Elbert. The sophomore got 10 outs on ground balls, including four right back to him on the mound. His classmate, Tucker Stahn, went 3-3 at the plate, with a double, two RBI, and a run scored. He also stole three bases.

Stahn took his turn on the bump in the final against Stratton and he was greeted by a three-run outburst by the Eagles. However, his offense got him back to even with three in the bottom of the inning. The sophomore southpaw settled in after that rough start, holding the Eagles scoreless over the next three innings. The Rams took control during that stretch with three in the second, one in the third, and three more in the fourth. Stratton chased Stahn with two in the fifth, but Akron added five in the bottom of the frame to claim the 15-5 run-rule victory. Anderson Filla, Jakzon Livesay, and Alex Bowin all scored a pair of runs, and Brandon Hellyer drove in three.

Haxtun is looking to make a state final for the first time since 2006, when the Fightin’ Bulldogs finished second to Limon. For Akron, a win gets the Rams to their first championship game appearance since 2002. Akron finished runner-up to Wiggins that year. The program also has second place finishes in 2000 (Crowley County) and 1984 (Fowler). Haxtun swept the regular season series, but Akron got the 6-1 victory in the District 5 title tilt.

Looking ahead to the finals, none of the four potential match-ups will be a rematch from the regular season.