We stack up the best teams in the Pikes Peak region:
1. Pine Creek (11-2, 9-0 5A Metro), No. 1 last week
2. Liberty (8-5, 6-3 5A Metro), No. 2
3. Rampart (8-5, 5-4 5A Metro), No. 3
OBSERVATIONS: What Pine Creek had done against 5A Metro competition for the past two years is just astounding, as the Eagles are 22-2 in league games over that span. You don’t do that without deep pitching, and this Pine Creek squad has just that in its top three arms — Ryan Warner (4-1, 25 IP, 36 strikeouts, .202 opponents’ avg.), Spencer Bedwell (23 1/3 IP, 4-0, 0.90 ERA) and Reagan Biechler (152/3 IP, 20 strikeouts, 0.89 ERA). Liberty, Rampart and Fountain-Fort Carson will slug it out for the league’s other two playoff spots.
1. Cheyenne Mountain (10-3, 5-0 4A Metro Mountain), No. 1
2. Air Academy (11-2, 5-0 4A Metro Plains), No. 2
3. Cañon City (12-1, 6-1 4A South Central), No. 3
OBSERVATIONS: Cheyenne Mountain has either scored 10 runs or shut out its opponent — sometimes both — in each of its five games in April. The Indians are batting .332 as a team, led by Jack Stimple’s .568 and 20 RBIs. After Air Academy knocked off Palmer Ridge 10-7 last week, it all but assures the Kadets and Indians will enter the crossover tournament as No. 1 seeds.
3A & below
1. TCA (12-3, 6-2 3A Tri-Peaks West), No. 1
2. Florence 7-6, 4-1 Tri-Peaks West), No. 3
3. St. Mary’s (7-6, 4-4 Tri-Peaks East), No. 2
OBSERVATIONS: TCA suffered its first two losses of the league season in a doubleheader sweep at the hands of Buena Vista. The Titans remain the area’s top 3A team, but that could change with a doubleheader with Florence on Saturday.
1. Pine Creek (5-1-2, 0-0-1 5A Metro), No. 1 last week
2. Doherty (6-3-2, 1-0-1 5A Metro), No. 2
3. Rampart (7-3-2, 0-0-2 5A Metro), No. 3
OBSERVATIONS: Pine Creek played just once last week, losing 1-0 to a tremendous 4A team at Air Academy. The goal surrendered by the Eagles in the loss to the Kadets was the only one their defense has allowed since March 17 — also in a 1-0 loss to Mountain Vista, which The Denver Post has at No. 3 in its statewide 5A rankings. Pine Creek isn’t the only 5A Metro team bringing it defensively, as Doherty has allowed just one goal in five April games and Rampart — riding a three-game winning streak — has blanked its past five opponents. Some big matchups are on the horizon: Rampart at Liberty on Wednesday, Pine Creek at Doherty on May 1 and Doherty at Rampart on May 3.
1a. Cheyenne Mountain (10-0, 6-0 4A Metro Mtn.), No. 1a
1b. Palmer Ridge (11-0, 6-0 4A Metro Mtn.), No. 1b
3. Air Academy (8-2, 3-1 4A Metro Mtn.), No. 3
OBSERVATIONS: Sand Creek seemed a good bet to give Cheyenne Mountain a road test last week, yet the Indians put up seven goals as junior Aspen Peifer notched her fourth hat trick in her past six games. Cheyenne Mountain has outscored the second- (Lewis-Palmer) and third-place (Sand Creek) teams in its division by a combined score of 11-2. The good news is that the 4A crossover is on the horizon and the potential matchups of the league’s top three could make for some fantastic soccer. Palmer Ridge has given up just one goal this year — in the first half of the season opener — and Air Academy’s only setback since March 13 was a 1-0 loss to the Bears. Don’t be surprised to see two or three area teams in the state semifinals next month, and any of those top three could well walk away with a championship.
1. St. Mary’s (10-1, 4-0 3A Region 1), No. 1
2. TCA (8-1-2, 5-0 3A Region 2), No. 2
3. Manitou Springs (8-4, 3-1 3A Region 2), No. 3
OBSERVATIONS: St. Mary’s has outscored opponents by a staggering margin of 59-3. TCA isn’t far behind with a 48-4 differential (through Saturday). The Pirates will host the matchup of the teams on May 1, which could be a preview of a state final. Manitou Springs played both teams within a goal and is positioning itself for a postseason run.