It didn't take long for Legend (Parker)
baseball coach Scott Fellers to consider the scenario.
"I'm thinking, ‘No way'," Fellers said. "I mean, C'mon, really?"
Fellers was responding to whether he thought his Titans would be in control of the Class 5A Championship Series, if he knew beforehand that they would score only eight runs in three state games on the tournament's opening weekend.
Yet, that is the position Legend (19-4) earned by mixing dominant pitching, solid defense and just enough offense to assure itself a berth in the big-school title game. The Titans are the lone unbeaten among four teams that remain in contention in the double-elimination brackets.
Not bad for a team in only its second season in 5A, and one that went 7-12 last season. The Titans will take a 14-game win streak into their semifinal game against defending champion Regis Jesuit (Aurora)
(19-5) at noon Friday at All City Field.
"We're on fire right now, and we've beaten top teams during this 14-game win streak," junior shortstop Bobby Dalbec
said. "We might not have the most talent, but we've come together to play as one."
Winning certainly is made easier with a trio of top arms. In succession, left-hander Tyler Honahan
and righties Jake Jenkins
and Brooks Trujillo
set down Ralston Valley (Arvada) (3-0), Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village)
(3-2) and Highlands Ranch (2-1).
Honahan (Stonybrook) and Jenkins (Pacific) have signed with Division I programs, while Fellers said Trujillo also has the ability to pitch at the next level. Honahan leads 5A with 102 strikeouts and has yielded only one run in 15 postseason innings.
Fellers said he was unsure which pitcher he would use against Regis Jesuit, knowing he has a one-game cushion. It doesn't seem to matter to the Titans, though, which one gets the call.
"Our pitchers are unstoppable right now," Dalbec said. "We couldn't ask for anything more."
Neither could the Continental League, which boasts three of the four teams remaining. Legend and Regis Jesuit tied atop the league standings, although the Raiders won the regular-season meeting 11-3 in the last game Legend lost. Raiders ace Peter Bayer
and Jenkins matched up in that one.
League counterpart Highlands Ranch
(17-7) is in the final four for the second year in a row, while perennial power Cherry Creek (21-3) makes its fourth consecutive semifinals appearance. Highlands Ranch and Cherry Creek will meet at 2:30 p.m. Friday at All City.
Cherry Creek, runner-up in 2011, had a flair for the dramatic last weekend to survive.
The Bruins overcame a four-run, seventh-inning deficit to beat Pine Creek (Colorado Springs) 7-6 in eight innings in their opener, before stunning Grandview (Aurora) with a four-run, seventh-inning rally in a 6-5 victory in an elimination game. While Cherry Creek proved its resiliency with those comebacks, it knows it can't continue to rely on such late-game heroics.
"We just need to start off sooner and get runs at the beginning," said junior outfielder Dyllin Mucha
, whose two-run triple tied it against Grandview. "We need to get on top of teams so they have to battle back against us."The pitching staff of Broomfield has garnered a lot of attention in Class 4A
, and rightfully so, but the Eagles enter the semifinals unbeaten because of their offensive output last weekend. Broomfield
(20-4) scored 38 runs in three games, the last two coming on a walk-off double by Jordan Arensdorf
against defending champion Cheyenne Mountain (Colorado Springs)
After blowing out Montrose (14-0) in its opener, Broomfield had to rally against both Longmont (17-7) and the Indians (7-6) to take control. They will meet Canon City
(19-5) at noon Friday at All-Star Park in Lakewood.
"That's where it shows where these guys don't panic. They have confidence in themselves and their teammates, and they know if we keep working, it's going to happen," Broomfield coach Garren Estes said. "Deep down, the coaches feel like they're always going to come back. They're a scrappy bunch."
It also helps to have players excelling at the right time, as Angelo Perez
and Jackson Lockwood
are for the Eagles. In three state games, Perez has gone 6-for-9 with seven runs scored, while Lockwood is 7-for-11 with six runs scored. Each had two homers and six RBI last weekend.
On the other side of the bracket, Cheyenne Mountain (19-5) and top-seeded Air Academy (21-3) will meet for the third time in 20 days. Air Academy beat the Indians 9-5 for the Colorado Springs Metro League title on May 5, before Cheyenne Mountain returned the favor, 10-5, in the second round of state.
Each has the pitching depth – Kevin Giordano
and Kevin Megyeri
for Air Academy (US Air Force Academy)
, and Bret Helton
, Michael Levar
and Jack Stimple
for Cheyenne Mountain – and offensive ability to challenge should Broomfield go into Saturday without a loss.The Class 3A final four features familiar names
, Holy Family (Broomfield)
, but it's Brush
that assumes the favorite's role. The Beetdiggers (18-6), which have won 12 in a row, will play in the title game after going 3-0 in the tournament last weekend. That bracket continues at Butch Butler Field in Greeley on Friday.In Class 2A, Resurrection Christian (Loveland)
claimed its first state baseball crown with an 8-3 victory against Byers. The Cougars built a 6-0 lead after two innings and they cruised the rest of the way. Senior catcher Josh Mondt
was selected as the game's MVP by The Denver Post after going 2-for3 with two RBI.The 1A title game will be played May 31
between Baca County [Vilas/Walsh]
. The game was originally scheduled for May 19 but was wiped out by rain. Because of conflicts with graduations and senior trips, the game could not be rescheduled until next week.MaxPreps' Paul Willis contributed to this report.