The state baseball championships came to an end Wednesday in 3A, 4A and 5A. Fans of Eaton, Green Mountain and Rock Canyon will be celebrating, as their teams are state champions.
Heading into the 3A championship, Jim Danley, the winningest active coach in the nation (at more than 800 victories) and his Eaton Reds had their eyes set on a record eleventh state championship. Even with a 25-0 record entering Wednesday, a run of success matched by very few teams in any sport, Eaton was not going to be handed the 3A state title.
Eaton would lose Game 1 – their first loss of the double-elimination tournament – to Brush 4-3 after a pitching gem from Brush pitcher Kyle Rosenbrock. Game 2 would be a different story as Eaton’s ace, Ryan Koehler, pitched a six-hit, one-run performance and the Eaton bats took care of the rest and won Game 2 by a 7-1 margin, eliminating the Beetdiggers and securing their eleventh title.
“It means a lot to this community,” Eaton’s Ryan Koehler said to CHSAANow.com regarding title No. 11. “We have a lot of love for our fans.”
The Eaton Reds have now claimed more championships in baseball than any other program in Colorado, which is quite a feat. No one would be surprised if they are in this same position next year going for their twelfth title.
In the 4A championship, the Green Mountain Rams were vying for their second consecutive state championship. In their way was the Lewis Palmer-Rangers. Twenty-four hours after pitching a one run complete-game, Talon Schaler used his bat to help lead Green Mountain to a 4-0 win. Schaler was just a home run shy of the cycle and pitcher Josh Ramriez pitched seven scoreless innings in the shutout victory.
After the game, Green Mountain coach Brad Madden reflected, also to CHSAANow.com on his team’s back-to-back championships, “It was kind of weird feeling this time,” said Madden. “Last year we had to fight the whole way through because we lost that first game but this year we kind of cruised through this thing and proved we were the best team in the state.”
The Rock Canyon Jaguars started off the 5A state tournament losing their opening game, but the Jaguars would go on to win five straight games culminating in a 9-2 win over Chatfield to secure the team’s first ever 5A state championship. Rock Canyon had already defeated Mountain Vista in a semifinal 2-1 earlier in the day, and finished off the tournament with an all-around team win in the championship game.
Rock Canyon pitcher Josh White was stellar, pitching a complete game giving up only five hits and walking two. Rain forced a delay in the eighth inning of the championship game, but Rock Canyon was ahead 8-2 at the time.
“Every game was delayed and pushed back so why not do this one the same way?” Rock Canyon coach Tyler Munro told CHSAANow.com afterward. “It’s a culmination. I feel it as a coach where it’s like, ‘We are going to win this game.’ It was even there in the first game today. There was never a doubt.”
There’s no doubt about it now, Rock Canyon can call themselves 5A state champions.
Sammy Mugharbil, an intern at Mile High Sports and student at Metro State University of Denver, contributed to this report