Pine Creek won at least a share of the 5A Colorado Springs Metro League crown for the fifth consecutive season. But for the first of those five titles, this year's arrived a little differently.
The Eagles rallied from a seven-run deficit to beat Palmer 21-8 in five innings Thursday at Spurgeon Field. Caleb Black homered, doubled twice and drove in four runs, and Peter McEvoy reached base three times and scored twice - all in the fourth inning - as the Eagles scored 16 runs in the fourth to turn an 8-1 deficit into a 17-8 lead.
"Everybody on our team kind of gets loud, just gets together," said Black, whose three-run homer over the 365-foot sign in left-center closed the gap to 8-6. "We show what we are here at Pine Creek."
Through the first three innings the game was a different story. Terrors ace Alexis Enriquez faced two batters over the minimum, surrendering one run and striking out two.
But Enriquez was beaned on the knee in the third. While a courtesy runner took over for him at first, Enriquez tested the knee as the Terrors batted around and built that 8-1 lead. His left knee, his landing knee, hurt too much to continue.
"He didn't want to come out of the game," Palmer coach Mike Hagen said. " ... Just like Pine Creek, everyone's down in their pitching (at this point of the season), but we had our ace going and he was shutting them down. Yeah, that completely changed it."
The junior hurler was hoping to return to the mound.
"I couldn't put any pressure on it," Enriquez said. "I tried it, but it just hurt more and more."
Three pitchers worked the fourth inning for Palmer. Pine Creek (13-4, 8-1) sent 20 batters to the plate, scored 16 runs and went 14 batters between the first and second outs. McEvoy started the inning at the plate and stepped to home two more times before the inning ended.
"I think that happened once when I was 12, and that was about it," said McEvoy, who doubled twice and scored twice in the inning. "It was a good feeling to go up there and string some good at-bats together and help the team drive in a few runs."
The lead was too large for Palmer (7-12, 5-5) to rally against. It also marked the second time in a three-day span the Terrors had blown a lead against the Eagles. Pine Creek rallied from an 8-3 deficit Tuesday. That necessity to rally has become a staple of Glenn Millhauser's team, something he hasn't had to rely on before.
"We've had that all year," Millhauser said. "It's been the weirdest year I've ever had. We've been down almost every game we've played and come back and won a lot of them."
The Eagles face Doherty on Saturday in the league finale for both teams. A win for the Spartans would mark a title split. A win for Pine Creek would mean the Eagles are outright champs.
"It's a great feeling, just continue what we've done the past four years here at Pine Creek, just to continue the legacy," McEvoy said. "Feels good to keep the streak going."