Highlights from Saturday's high school action involving teams from the Pikes Peak region:
Pine Creek 13, Liberty 3 (five innings)
At Pine Creek: Prom weekend or not, Pine Creek ended the game early and, in all likelihood, brought early curtains to any drama atop the 5A Metro race.
Eagles coach Glenn Millhauser had expressed concern over Saturday’s game as it coincided with the school’s big formal dance, but his team homered three times and scored four in the second and five in the fifth to sweep Liberty in the teams’ three-game season series.
CJ Krainock homered, doubled, knocked in four runs and scored three times to pace the Eagles (9-0, 11-2). Winning pitcher Ryan Warner and Reagan Biechler also homered.
The victory pushes second-place Liberty(8-5, 6-3) three games back in the league with six games remaining, but the Lancers will get no more cracks at Pine Creek.
Brent Williams homered and drove in two runs for Liberty, which clawed to within 5-2 in the third before Pine Creek answered with a run in its half of the inning and then piled on over the final two frames.
The six-team league will send three to districts. Pine Creek is almost assured of one spot, and Liberty holds a one-game lead over Fountain-Fort Carson and Rampart in what figures to be a musical-chairs contest for the next six games with just two postseason seats available for the three teams.
Fountain-Fort Carson 14, Palmer 13
At Fountain-Fort Carson: Joe Belarde's two-run, walkoff double lifted Fountain-Fort Carson (6-5, 5-4 5A Metro) to a win in one of the more mercurial matchups of the season.
Trailing 13-12 going into the bottom of the seventh, Brandon Reese led off with a single. Josh Sanchez followed by laying down a sacrifice bunt and reached base when the throw pulled the first baseman off the bag. After Logan Kramer sacrificed the runners to second and third, Belarde, the No. 9 hitter, drilled a shot over the center fielder's head to score both and end the game.
“You play in the moment,” FFC coach Matt Buczkowski said. “It doesn't matter what the score is, it doesn't matter how they scored. All that matters is that we were down one in the seventh and we needed to get a baserunner.”
F-FC put nine runs on the board in the first inning in what looked to be a laugher. Palmer (4-8, 0-8) plated five runs each in the fourth and fifth innings, however, before bringing home two more in the top of the seventh to take its first lead of the game at 13-12.
“That’s what Palmer is,” Buczkowski said. “Those guys are never going to quit, they never have. They've got that resolve to them.
“That was the biggest thing that I was happy with our guys, that they were able to match the resolve.”
Austin Powell went 4 for 4 with a double and three runs scored for FFC. Belarde was 3 for 4.
Rampart 13, Doherty 1
At Rampart: An eight-run first inning pushed Rampart (8-5, 5-4 5A Metro) to its third win over Doherty in as many tries this season.
Tyler Kliedon had one of the three hits for Doherty (2-10, 5-4) and knocked in the only run for the Spartans.
Canon City 9, Pueblo East 0
At Canon City: Canon City kept pace in the 4A South Central race with an 11-hit attack while tossing a three-hit shutout.
The Tigers (12-1, 6-1) hold a half-game lead over Pueblo County (8-4, 5-1).
Game 1: St. Mary's 6, La Junta 5
Game 2: St. Mary's 7, La Junta 2
At Grace Center: It was a doubleheader St. Mary's desperately needed, and Ty Smith delivered.
Smith earned the victory in relief of the first game, coming into a bases-loaded, two-out jame in the sixth with the game tied after La Junta had already brought five runs home in the inning. He got them out of the jam, the Pirates scored the go-ahead run in the bottom half of the inning and Smith worked a perfect seventh.
Smith stayed on the mound and pitched a complete game in the second game, allowing seven baserunners over seven innings.
"We extended him today, but he probably wouldn't have let me take him out," said St. Mary's coach Bill Percy, adding that Smith does not rely on overpowering heat and can withstand a heavy workload.
Smith also had three hits in the first game, scoring twice and drove in a run in both games.
The victories keep St. Mary's in the mix for one of three automatic playoff berths from their half of the league. A fourth-place finish would mean a one-game playoff with the postseason on the line.
"It was a playoff atmosphere and our guys responded," Percy said.
Game 1: Buena Vista 5, TCA 2
Game 2: Buena Vista 1, TCA 0
At El Pomar Sports Complex: TCA scored in the second and third innings of the first game, but that was all the offense it could muster.
With the two wins, Buena Vista (10-5, 5-3 Tri-Peaks West) pulled to within a game of TCA (12-3, 6-2) for second place in the league.
TCA had not lost to a 3A foe this season.
Game 1: ECA 14, Calhan 1
Game 2: ECA 11, Calhan 1 (five innings)
At Calhan: Michael Reuter struck out 10 over seven innings and ECA scored six in the seventh to pull away in the first game of a doubleheader.
Reuter also had three hits, including a triple in the first game as the Eagles outhit Calhan 14-5. They scored seven in the fifth to break a scoreless tie.
ECA did its damage much earlier in the second game, scoring three times in each of the first two innings as it won in five behind a four-hitter from David Schipper.
Reuter scored four runs in the second game and JD Kohl and Schipper each drove in three runs.
Kiowa 19, Peyton 9
At Peyton: Peyton's four-run first-inning lead proved to be shortlived, as Kiowa scored four in the second and five in the third to pull away. Kiowa then scored eight times in the sixth to add even more separation.
Cherry Creek Invitational
At Cherry Creek: Cheyenne Mountain and Cherry Creek squared off in all seven finals matches, with the 5A power taking four over the Indians.
Freshman Payton Fielding at No. 2 singles joined the Nos. 1 and 2 doubles teams as winners for Cheyenne Mountain.
Windsor Wizards Spring Invite
At Windsor:DiscoveryCanyon’s Caitlin Strutz (No. 2 singles) and Julia Jones (No. 3 singles) both took their championship matches to a third set before taking second at the eight-team event in which the Thunder placed fourth.
Strutz dropped the title match toLoveland’s Jordan Paulus 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 and Jones was topped by Windor’s Hannah West 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.
Discovery Canyon also scored top-four finishes at No. 1 singles, No. 2 doubles and No. 3 doubles.
ECA 6, CSS 0
At CSS: Heidi Mann scored twice as part of a balanced ECA attack that saw goals from five players and points from seven players.
The Eagles (6-5), which led 3-0 at halftime, outshot CSS (2-3-1) by a margin of 21-1.
Doherty 6, Pueblo West 1
At Pueblo West: Madison Furbush and Megan O’Driscoll each scored twice and Nicole Boisselle and Jaylin Lobato each had to assists as Doherty outscored Pueblo West 4-1 in the second half to pull away.
Kendra Penchoff and Jordin Schaller also scored for the Spartans (6-3-2), who haven’t lost since March 17.
Pueblo West (8-3) had shut out three of its past four opponents.
Rampart 6, Falcon 0
At Rampart: Mary Bethe Smith scored twice and Rampart (7-3-2) rolled.
Nine Rams players had points in the victory, including goals for Selena Alacron, Julia Jacob, Kellyn Padgett and Savannah Schil.
Rampart hasn’t given up a goal in five consecutive games and six of its past seven.
Falcon (6-5) had five shots on goal.
Fountain Valley 1, Alexander Dawson 0 (2OT)
At Fountain Valley: Jana Keemeier’s unassisted goal in the second overtime gave Fountain Valley the victory.
The Danes (3-3-1) couldn’t find an opening on their first 20 shots, while goalie Heather Whitham handled all three shots from Alexander Dawson (2-6-2) in posting the shutout.
Alexander Dawson 8, Fountain Valley/CSS 4
At Fountain Valley: The combined team of Fountain Valley and CSS was outscored 2-1 in every period in falling to Alexander Dawson (6-6).
FV/CSS (1-7) was led by Ian Pelto’s two goals.