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Scouting baseball regional playoffs: 12 area teams battle in regionals this weekend for a shot at the state tournament

May 9, 2018 Updated: May 10, 2018 at 2:53 pm
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Graphic by Derek Kuhn, The Gazette

The winner of each region will move on to the state tournament to begin May 18. Each region qualifies one team to the final eight.

CLASS 5A Regional Baseball brackets

Region7

No. 1 Pine Creek

Game data: No. 4 Regis Jesuit (8-11) vs. No. 1 Pine Creek (17-2) … Saturday, 10 a.m. at Pine Creek. Winner of Game 1 will move on to the championship game against the winner of No. 2 Chatfield vs. No. 3 ThunderRidge set for 3 p.m.

Scouting report: Pine Creek capped off a successful regular-season campaign with a 2-0 win over Regis Jesuit last week, and now the Raiders have a chance at redemption.

But they’ll have a tough battle ahead against Pine Creek, which has won 12 straight and ranked No. 3 in Class 5A.

The Eagles are arguably the most complete team in the Pikes Peak region. Pine Creek has earned a stellar .412 batting average as a team, has six pitchers throwing a combined 0.88 ERA, and a field producing just 18 errors on the season.

Last time against Regis Jesuit, Pine Creek ace Riley Cornelio got the nod on the mound, throwing six innings and striking out seven along the way. Justin Olson came in for relief, striking out two. Cornelio has seven wins and an outstanding 0.33 ERA. Through 42 innings pitched he has struck out 71 batters and allowed just 19 hits. Next man up is Jay Onken, who is 6-0 with a 0.51 ERA. Onken has racked up 51 strikeouts through 27 innings and allowed just eight hits.

Parker Gregory leads the Eagles at the plate batting .585 and is third on the team with 24 RBIs. Olson, however, is the power hitter in an already powerful lineup, slugging 1.509, good for second in the state. He has 14 home runs on the year and bats .545 with 33 RBIs.  

Last week Regis Jesuit had just four hits against Pine Creek as they played without top hitter Johnathon Stoughton (bats .452). The Eagles limited the Raiders’ top slugger Geno Macias to one hit.

Preps Baseball: Pine Creek Eagles (2) Regis Jesuit Raiders (0)
The Pine Creek Eagles (2) host the Regis Jesuit Raiders (0) in a non-conference baseball game Saturday May 5, 2018. Photo by Jeff Kearney. 

CLASS 4A Regional Baseball brackets

Region 1

No. 2 Canon City

Game data: No. 3 Pueblo County (11-8) vs. No. 2 Canon City (14-5) … Saturday, noon at Windsor. Winner goes on to play the winner of No. 1 Windsor vs. No. 4 Greeley Central at 2 p.m.

Scouting report: A midseason eight-game winning streak highlighted the Tigers' 2018 campaign, but in the last stretch of the season Canon City dropped three of its last four, including two tough one-run losses.

The Tigers will look to rebound and find redemption against Pueblo County, which beat them 9-3 in March.

Pueblo County was on a bit of a skid to end the season, losing four straight before claiming a 13-3 win over Pueblo East in the regular-season finale.

In order to get past the Hornets and to the Region 1 title game, Canon City will need to use its studs in the lineup to overwhelm its opposing pitcher, likely to be Pueblo County’s ace Cole Martino, a freshman who boasts a 2.29 ERA and a 5-2 record in his varsity debut.

Lincoln Andrews and Kadin Porter lead the Tigers at the plate. Andrews hits .534 with 23 RBIs, including four home runs for a 1.0 slugging percentage, while power-hitter Porter hits .418 with 15 RBIs.

Zac Hanenberg, one of Canon City’s top batters, hitting .446 with 18 RBIs, was also 5-1 on the mound in the regular season with three saves. He has a 3.05 ERA and leads with team with 42 strikeouts through 43.2 innings pitched.

Anthony Romero is Pueblo County’s top hitter with a .424 batting average and 16 RBIs. Romero had two hits and two RBIs for the Hornets last time against Canon City. Hunter Miller also knocked in two runs.

Region 2

No. 3 Lewis-Palmer

Game data: No. 3 Lewis-Palmer (11-8) vs. No. 2 Roosevelt (15-4) … Saturday, 12:30 p.m. at Palisade. Winner moves on to the Region 2 championship against the winner of No. 1 Palisade vs. No. 4 Montrose at 3 p.m.

Scouting report: After a six-game winning streak to start the season, the Rangers fizzled off in a streaky midseason campaign. Lewis-Palmer lost seven of its 11 games in April, including two big eight-inning losses to Cheyenne Mountain and Air Academy.

The Rangers will take on the Roughriders, who won eight of their 11 games in April thanks to a slew of .400 hitters, led by Brandin Obrecht, who hits .460 with 13 RBIs.

The Rangers are led by Beau Gent with a .400 average, while Johnny Behm and Brady Choban have brought in 17 runs each batting .370 and .365, respectively. Jason Shuger is also a top hitter for Lewis-Palmer, batting in 14 runs with a .377 average.

Choban and Shuger are also the Rangers’ top men on the mound. Choban was 5-3 on the season with a 3.37 ERA, while Shuger has six wins and a 4.17 ERA.

Lewis-Palmer is ranked sixth in Class 4A with 72 stolen bases, led by Hayden Ambuehl and Behm, who have 14 stolen bases each. Behm has successfully swiped 14 of 15 attempts.

Region 3

No. 2 Cheyenne Mountain

Game data: No. 3 Mead (11-8) vs. No. 2 Cheyenne Mountain (13-6) … Saturday, 12:30 p.m. at Fort Morgan. Winner moves on to face either No. 1 Fort Morgan or No. 4 Northridge in the championship at 3 p.m.

Scouting report: Cheyenne Mountain will look to bounce back from a three-game skid to end the regular season in the Region 3 opener as the Indians take on Mead, which lost five of its last eight games in April.

Cheyenne Mountain has a balanced lineup with six hitters racking up 10 or more RBIs this season, each batting at least .298.

Led by senior Jack Denker with a .400 average and 19 RBIs, the Indians boast a respectable team batting average of .350 and a .954 fielding percentage with only 25 errors on the year.

Sophomore Michael Ellis will likely get the nod on the mound for Cheyenne Mountain in the Region 3 opener. He has six wins on the year and a 2.15 ERA. He leads the Indians’ young bullpen, which is stacked with six sophomores, a freshman and one senior.

Mead, although it boasts a .339 team batting average, is not a hard-hitting team with a .428 team slugging percentage and just 37 extra-base hits on the year (compared to Cheyenne Mountain’s 61).

Brett Noaz leads the Mavericks with a .417 average and 16 RBIs. Brady Carstens has 20 RBIs and leads the team in extra-base hits with five (three doubles, two triples).

Region 4

No. 1 Palmer Ridge

Game data: No. 4 Elizabeth (12-7) vs. No. 1 Palmer Ridge (15-4) … Saturday, 10 a.m. at Palmer Ridge. The winner of Game 1 will face the victor from No. 2 Evergreen vs. No. 3 Falcon at 3 p.m.

Scouting report: Palmer Ridge locked in the No. 1 seed for Region 4 thanks to its 15-4 record and 0.619 RPI, good for a No. 7 overall rank in Class 4A.

The Bears ended the year on a four-game streak, sweeping Lewis-Palmer and Cheyenne Mountain for the 4A/5A Pikes Peak Conference crown.

Palmer Ridge is ranked third in Class 4A with 14 home runs, led by Bridger Havens and Ben Kleinsmith who have three each. Nine Palmer Ridge batters have hit ones out of the park. Havens boasts a .323 average and 19 RBIs, while Kleinsmith bats .400 with 21 RBIs. Gabe Halaby is the Bears’ most consistent hitter, batting .500 and has knocked in a team-leading 28 RBIs.

Havens, a shortstop responsible for helping the Bears to 17 double plays this season, also has a no-hitter under his belt, a 4-1 record, three saves and a 3.66 ERA. JC Watne is 9-1 with a 3.31 ERA, and 44 strikeouts, while Halaby boasts a 1.97 ERA through five appearances.

Charlie Deeds also throws fire for the Bears, striking out 44 batters through 28 innings pitched.

Palmer Ridge will need to be on the lookout for Chase Bauer, who leads Elizabeth with a .429 average and 22 RBIs. The Cardinals pitching staff is relatively inconsistent as six pitchers combine for a 5.94 ERA. Gage Smith is the team’s top pitcher with a 4.79 ERA and 15 strikeouts. Tyler Richardson leads the team in Ks with 38 strikeouts through 19 innings pitched. He has a 7.60 ERA and is 2-2.

No. 3 Falcon

Game data: No. 3 Falcon (12-7) vs. No. 2 Evergreen (13-6) … Saturday, 12:30 p.m. at Palmer Ridge. Winner will move on to the Region 4 championship against either No. 1 Palmer Ridge or No. 4 Elizabeth.

Scouting report: Falcon enters the postseason with a major momentum swing thanks to a six-game winning streak to end the year, kicked off by a 3-1 win over Region 4 No. 1 seed Palmer Ridge.

The Falcons have the top Class 4A hitter in the state in Darrian Escobar-Winter, who hits .656 with 31 RBIs and slugged his way to a 1.213 slugging percentage with 19 extra-base hits, including six home runs.

Brady Sides is second on the team in batting average batting .428 with 12 RBIs. Kody Sellers and Conner Kessler have knocked in 14 runs each for the Falcons, batting .344 and .338, respectively.

Sellers leads the team with 10 stolen bases, and is 3-0 on the mound with a 4.54 ERA, while Kessler and Escobar-Winter are trouble for batters with 50 strikeouts each through 34 and 32 innings, respectively.

If Falcon hopes for a chance at the Region 4 title game, it will have to take advantage of Evergreen’s three-game skid heading into the postseason.

The Cougars have a strong lineup, littered with eight batters with 10 or more RBIs on the year, each batting at least .316. Chris Guay and Bryce Pearson lead the team with 21 RBIs each, batting .350 and .382, respectively.  

Ben Muscatello will be trouble for the Falcons if he gets the nod for Evergreen as the senior pitcher is 6-0 with a 1.11 ERA and 38 strikeouts through 38 innings. Paul Schreffler is also undefeated on the mound at 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA.

Region 7

No. 2 Discovery Canyon

Game data: No. 3 Erie (9-10) vs. No. 2 Discovery Canyon (12-6) … Saturday, 12:30 p.m. at Longmont. Winner will take on the victor from Game 1, No. 1 Longmont vs. No. 4 Standley Lake, in the Region 7 championship at 3 p.m.

Scouting report: Discovery Canyon slugged its way to the postseason by leading Class 4A in home runs with 27 - nearly double the number of dingers of No. 2 Valor Christian.

Caleb Grotelueschen leads the Thunder with seven homers, followed by Mark Reys and Brad King with six each.

That power at the plate helped Discovery Canyon to a five-game winning streak to end the year, outscoring opponents 76-12.

King is the Thunder's top threat at the plate, batting .426 with 32 RBIs and team-leading .888 slugging percentage. Grotelueschen hits .314 with 23 RBIs, while Reyes is second on the team with a .404 batting average and has knocked in 31 runs.

Jason Mair and Zach Surface are both undefeated on the mound at 2-0. Mair has a 2.68 ERA while Surface averages 3.32 earned runs. Jaden Boles leads the Thunder in Ks with 40 strikeouts through 35 innings.

Erie has a relatively weak batting order, with a team BA of .254, and just three batters with 10 or more RBIs. The Tigers’ top batter, Austin Klingenmeier, hits .340.

John Thoren is the team’s top pitcher, going 4-1 in the regular season for a 1.75 ERA. He has 36 strikeouts through 24 innings pitched and just six earned runs. Klingenmeier has 24 Ks through 24 innings pitched and a 3.79 ERA.

PREP BASEBALL
Palmer Ridge Bears senior JC Watne (5) motions after hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning. The Bears defeated the Indians 14-9 in extra innings in boys' baseball on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at Cheyenne Mountain High School. Photo by Isaiah J. Downing 

CLASS 3A Regional Baseball brackets

Region 8

No. 4 St. Mary’s

Game data: No. 4 St. Mary’s (8-11) vs. No. 1 Alamosa (15-4) … Saturday,  at Alamosa, time TBA. The winner will move on to battle for the Region 8 title against the winner of No. 2 Peak to Peak vs. No. 3 Weld Central.

Scouting report: St. Mary’s capped off a shaky regular season by winning four of its last five, including a huge win over 3A Tri-Peaks foe Salida in the final game of the regular season.

But in order to get past No. 1 Alamosa, the Pirates will need to be in top shape in its Region 8 opener.

Alamosa has won 14 straight thanks in part to the 3A leader in RBIs, Caden Alonzo, who has batted in 45 runs. He leads the Maroons in batting average (.475) and slugging percentage (.852), thanks to 14 extra-base hits, including three home runs.

St. Mary’s is not the strongest hitting team, with a team average of .243, but the Pirates have a spark in its top four, led by Josh White. White leads the team with a .345 batting average and 13 RBIs, followed by Sam Baldwin (.267, 12 RBIs), Edwin Romo (.234, 11 RBIs), and Matt Haines (.310, 10 RBIs).

Romo is the team’s top pitcher with a 4.63 ERA, going 3-2 in the regular season. But Seth Chambless has the power. Chambless leads the team with 34 strikeouts through 33.2 innings, and a 6.03 ERA.

In addition to Alamosa’s threat at the plate, the Maroons also have a strong pitching rotation, led by Tyler Zimmerman who is 5-0 with a 1.56 ERA and 28 strikeouts. John Lujan is also undefeated at 6-0 with a 3.66 ERA and 49 strikeouts through 36.1 innings.

CLASS 2A District Baseball brackets

The winner of each district will advance to the regional bracket to begin play May 18.

District 8 semifinals

No. 1 Peyton / No. 4 Ellicott

Game data: No. 4 Ellicott (8-8) vs. No. 1 Peyton (17-1) … Saturday 10 a.m. at Spurgeon Field. The winner moves on to the district championship at 3 p.m. to be played against the winner of No. 2 Calhan vs. No. 3 Evangelical Christian.

Scouting report: Just last week Peyton faced Ellicott in its District 8 series finale, outscoring the Thunderhawks 47-10 through two games.

Saturday will be crunch time for Ellicott if the Thunderhawks hope to keep their season alive, but beating Peyton, the No. 1 team in Colorado Class 2A, is easier said than done.

The Panthers bat .399 as a team, and boast one of the top pitching rotations in the state with a combined ERA of 1.68, both ranking third in 2A.

With seven batters hitting above .370 with 10 or more RBIs, Peyton’s batting order is littered with weapons, but there aren’t many power hitters in the lineup, with just five triples and two home runs on the year. As a team the Panthers slug .513.

If Ellicott hopes to get past Peyton, the Thunderhawks will need to lean on its young core. Four of Ellicott’s five top hitters are underclassmen, led by freshman Clay Sanger, who hit .588 with 10 RBIs in the regular season. Sophomore Brandon Merriam leads the team with 19 RBIs and hits .386, while freshman Nolan Favreau has seven RBIs and bats .404.

Merriam and Sanger are also Ellicott’s best men on the mound. Merriam has 59 strikeouts in 37 innings, and boasts a 3.22 ERA, while Sanger has a 3.63 ERA with 46 Ks through 27 innings and is 3-3.

With eight wins under his belt, Rodney Gregg is Peyton’s top pitcher with a 1.62 ERA, and 87 strikeouts through 52 innings. Rupert Shaw has 34 strikeouts through 22.1 innings and a stellar 0.94 ERA in eight appearances

No. 2 Calhan / No. 3 Evangelical Christian

Game data: No. 3 Evangelical Christian (12-6) vs. No. 2 Calhan (13-5) … Saturday, 12:30 p.m. at Spurgeon Field. The winner will play for the district title against the winner of Game 1 between No. 1 Peyton and No. 4 Ellicott.

Scouting report: ECA and Calhan battled in one of the most competitive District 8 series of the regular season, with Calhan taking the first win in extra innings, followed by a come-from-behind victory by ECA later that same week.

Now the Bulldogs and Eagles have a chance for a tiebreaker - with the season on the line.

ECA went on a seven-game winning streak after its first loss to Calhan before dropping two of the last three of the regular season, while the Bulldogs have won five of their last seven, with their only two losses coming from No. 1 Peyton.

On paper, ECA has a much stronger batting lineup, hitting .352, compared to Calhan’s .282 BA. The Eagles are led by Daniel Perry who has knocked in 22 runs this season with a .464 batting average. Zach Perry is second on the team with 19 RBIs, batting .382.

ECA has eight batters with 10 or more RBIs, all of whom bat .244 or higher. Daniel Perry is the team’s top pitcher with a 3.17 ERA and 51 strikeouts through 42 innings. Andrew and Benjamin DeRuiter are also threats on the mound for ECA. Andrew has the team’s best ERA at 2.51 through 12 appearances and has 35 strikeouts through 22.1 innings. Benjamin has 45 Ks through 35 innings and a 5.60 ERA.

Calhan is led by Eddie Glaser who boasts a .365 batting average, while Brayden Dillingham leads the team in RBIs with 15, batting .340. He’s also the team’s top slugger with four of the team’s five home runs. Joe Hayes is third on the team batting .315 for 13 RBIs.

Glaser is also the Bulldogs’ ace with a 6-2 record, a 3.43 ERA and 59 strikeouts through 47 innings. Dillingham is 2-1 with a 3.28 ERA and 29 strikeouts.

 
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