Video: Top pitching prospect strikes out 17 in perfect game
Seminole's Matt Allan is projected to be one of the first five right-handed pitchers taken in the MLB Draft.
The (hopefully) final round of snowstorms have made their way through Colorado and now it's time for the final wave of spring state championships to get underway.
The state baseball tournaments in Class 5A, 4A, 3A and 2A get rolling Friday. The 2A tournament will be the only one to crown a champion this week as play will conclude in Pueblo on Saturday.
The 3A tournament will be played in Greeley at Butch Butler Field and University High School. The 5A tournament returns to All-City Field but All-Star Park – a former 4A venue – has been added to the mix.
The 4A tournament has packed its bags and headed south to play at the new baseball facility at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and UC Health Field, which hosts the newly branded Rocky Mountain Vibes.
The fields should be dry and the temperatures will make it feel like its baseball season. Time to play ball.Class 5A
At first glance, this appears to be a stacked 5A bracket from top to bottom. It features a defending champion in Mountain Vista (Highlands Ranch)
to go with a couple of regular contenders in Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village)
and Rocky Mountain (Fort Collins)
. Heritage (Littleton)
has played well all year, and Regis Jesuit (Aurora)
isn't exactly a stranger to the state tournament.
The Golden Eagles will begin their title defense with a game against Rocky Mountain. The Golden Eagles are hitting well over .380 as a team and Sam Ireland
is having a fantastic senior campaign. The middle of the defending champions' lineup is stack as Ireland, Grant Magill
and Drew Stahl
have each hit five home runs and driven in 30-plus runs.
The Lobos are banking on a deep pitching staff to play a role in this year's hunt for a state title. Just two years removed from its last title, Rocky Mountain sports a pitching staff where Jake Campbell
, Brogan Stevens
, Cade Nelson
and Brian Bruxvoort
have all logged more than 20 innings. Nelson and Campbell figure to see the bulk of the time on the bump, which is understandable considering they've surrendered just a combined 39 earned runs in 93.1 innings.
After a stretch of four losses in six games, Regis Jesuit caught fire toward the end of the regular season. The Raiders last lost on April 26 in a 1-0 showdown against Douglas County (Castle Rock). Caden Wagner
doesn't mess around at the plate as suggested by his .434 batting average and nine home runs. Regis' opening game against Chaparral (Parker)
could turn into quite the slugfest.
The Wolverines have a couple of sluggers of their own as Ryan McKown
has hit seven dingers with Arkansas commit Bryce Matthews
adding six. The key for the Wolverines playing well is Grady Cole
's efficiency on the mound. The senior is 5-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 2019.Grandview (Aurora)
will enter the state tournament looking to get its signature win right from the get-go. The Wolves have received solid play from junior Isaac Smith
. His .416 batting average carries a little more weight considering 11 of his 32 hits have gone for extra bases. If Smith's hitting habits carry over to the state tournament, they'll be a big help on Friday against Legacy (Broomfield)
The Lightning will rely on a sophomore hurler as Macully Sehr
enters the tournament with a 4-0 record and 1.64 ERA. He's been the No. 2 this year behind Dylan Grierson
but will be called on early if Legacy can get by the Wolves on Friday.
Heritage and Cherry Creek might be the marquee matchup of any state tournament this week. The Eagles got the attention of everyone in 5A with of all things a 1-0 loss to Mountain Vista earlier in the year. They're heavy with veteran upperclassmen. Jake Schope
, Jimmy Hebenstreit
and Pete Chronowski
have all thrown more than 25 innings this year and have a combined record of 9-3.
The Bruins enter the tournament riding high on emotion as coach Marc Johnson recently won his 800th game with the program. Brice Martinez
comes in batting .410 but has a knack of getting past first base often. He hit six doubles and five triples this year. He's even swiped 10 bases. Combined with the staggering .513 average coming from Jack Moss
, Cherry Creek might just be one of the more consistent offensive squads this year.
Class 4APueblo West
and Cheyenne Mountain have stood out as the top two teams in the 4A class all season. They met near the end of the regular season with the Cyclones getting a 6-3 win.
Pueblo West sports a steady line, which includes the junior duo of Dylan Gist
and Brodie Blackford
. Both hitters sport OPS percentages better than 1.000 and have combined for 48 runs scored and 53 RBI. Nate Denniston
has shown to be one of the best pitchers in the state with an 8-0 record and a 0.90 ERA.
The Cyclones will open the state tournament against
. Nolan Marthaler
has given the Tigers a steady stream of offense by hitting .396 with three home runs and 23 RBI. Erie has five other players in the lineup who have driven in at least 10 runs this season, including Brandon Hewell
and Benji Havener
who each have 11 RBI.Cheyenne Mountain (Colorado Springs)
will begin its state title journey against Holy Family. The Indians boast one of the deepest pitching staffs in 4A, which is always crucial for a state title run. Devin Dodson
has given up just 11 earned runs in 43.1 innings. Michael Ellis
doesn't quite have as a low an ERA as Dodson, but in six starts in 2019 he's built a 4-1 record.
The Tigers will have to overcome the depth of the Cheyenne Mountain staff and score runs in bunches to stay in the game. Emmanual King
and Jacob Callaway
have the ability to drive in runs, and the team overall is hitting better than .300. Friday's first game at UCCS will have the makings of a fun one.Golden
made its way into the state tournament thanks to a 5-2 win over Glenwood Springs and a 16-1 win over Skyview (Thornton). The Demons score a little more than seven runs per game with Ben McLaughlin
leading the charge. He leads the team in runs scored (36), RBI (33) and home runs (six). If the Golden bats heat up over the next two weekends, it's likely because McLaughlin is holding the blowtorch and he hopes to get it going when Golden opens against Fort Morgan
and Alex Ortega
have been a formidable duo on the bump for the Mustangs. In 10 starts, Jacob is 8-1 with a 3.89 ERA. Alex is 5-2 with a 3.90 ERA. They manage to keep their team in the game as mashers such as JP Hamer
and Nick Norris
work to get runs across the plate.
The final opening game in the 4A tournament pits Silver Creek (Longmont)
against Wheat Ridge
. The Raptors are quietly the hottest team in the bracket. Their 23-2 record comes with a total of zero losses to Colorado teams. Spencer Rich
and Justin Swenson
have each driven in more than 30 runs while Tanner Regan
has been lights out on the mound. His 7-0 record comes with a 2.94 ERA.
The Farmers have been on a roll since the postseason started. They beat Pueblo Centennial and Longmont by identical 11-1 scores. They don't hit with a ton of power, but they can still score. Dominic Bronk
leads the team with 28 runs scored and 29 RBI. Those numbers come with a .500 batting average. In addition, the Farmers possess one of the top arms in the state in senior Aaron Arcilise
. Arcilise leads 4A with a 0.39 ERA and has 90 strikeouts in 53.1 innings en route to an 8-0 record.
Defending champion University (Greeley)
begins its state journey against Colorado Academy (Denver)
on Thursday at Butch Butler Field.Andre Chacon
has been a consistent force at the plate for the Bulldogs, hitting .452 and leading the team with 27 RBI's. He doesn't necessarily thrive in the slugging sense as he's registered only eight total extra-base hits all year. But he gets the job done.
The Mustangs will look to keep Chacon in check with Graham Osman
. The senior, who has signed with Arizona State, has thrown 51 innings and surrendered just one (unearned) run.
The hard-hitting Alamosa
Mean Moose are looking utilize power at the plate to make a title run. Five hitters in the Alamosa lineup have hit at least two home runs this season. Gage Calder
is one of them but also has eight doubles and four triples to his name.
The Mean Moose will face Delta
, another power team that brings heavy sticks to the diamond. Trevor Myers
has blasted six home runs this year and Rowyn Carmichael
has five. The Panthers have shown to have a bit of an edge on the base paths with 81 stolen bases. Myers accounts for 12 and Jaren Reece
leads the team with 17.Lutheran (Parker)
enters the tournament out of the region hosted by Sterling. The Tigers were upset by Manitou Springs in their first and only postseason game and that game paved the way for Lutheran to advance to the state tournament. Brody Schneider
has had a big year with a .508 average and nine home runs.
He'll have to face St. Mary's (Colorado Springs)
ace Edwin Romo
. The Pirates senior doesn't strike out a lot of hitters but opponents struggle to score on him. He's complemented by junior Anthony Depner
, giving St. Mary's a solid one-two punch.Eaton
is looking to return to the state championship conversation and will have to go through Patriot League foe Resurrection Christian (Loveland)
on Friday. The Reds have been strong all year thanks in part to the Ure brothers, Jared Ure
and Ryan Ure
. It's Ryan, the sophomore, who leads Eaton in several offensive categories, including runs scored (29), RBI (45) and home runs (five).
Resurrection Christian junior Sawyer Shepherd
is one of two players on the roster batting better than .400. Jared Whitaker
is the other, but Shepherd mashes the ball as evidenced by his 10 doubles and four home runs. The Cougars advanced to state with wins over Pagosa Springs and Bayfield. They won the games by a combined score of 22-5.
Saturday will mark a one-day race to crown a 2A state champion. Top-seeded Peyton
takes on No. 12 Wiggins
in one semifinal game with No. 2 Rye playing No. 15 Fowler in the other. The semifinal games will be played simultaneously at the Runyon Field complex.
Peyton has looked strong all year save for its one loss to Rye
in the regular season. The Panthers have a three-head attack on the mound with Rodney Gregg
, Rupert Shaw
and Brennen Meyers
all figuring to see time on the bump. Gregg has also put up impressive numbers at the plate. He's batting .476 this year and leads the team with four home runs.
Wiggins is in the semis thanks to upset wins over Front Range Christian (Littleton) and Yuma. Bryce Ford
has been a one-man wrecking crew at times for the Tigers. His .514 batting average leads the team and his 36 RBI. He has five triples and six home runs this season.
Rye opened the season with a 6-5 loss to Eagle Valley on Mar. 15. That was the last time the Thunderbolts were on the losing end of the final score. Johnny Marquez
, Robert Buford
and Bryce Benz
have all driven in at least 30 runs this year. Benz has also been fantastic on the mound, giving up just two earned runs in 38 innings. He's been a solid compliment to staff ace Damon Elarton,
who has a 9-0 record heading into this weekend.
The Thunderbolts will take on Fowler
, the No 15 seed in the tournament. The Grizzlies do not score at the clip that Rye does, but Hunter Mason
is always a threat to get on base, and Gabriel Proctor
leads the team in RBI with 19. Fowler beat No. 2 Hotchkiss 12-2 in the first round before beating Dawson School (Lafayette) in the quarterfinals.