The Class 1A baseball season is amazingly already in the rear-view mirror – congrats to Merino for its dramatic 10-9 win over Akron last week to claim the 1A championship.

Well, the 2A and 3A teams begin their eight-team double elimination state tournaments this weekend. Both classes play games Friday and Saturday with the state title games set for June 1. With the action set to begin – let’s first push the rewind button and hand out a Player Prop – and then dive into some key matchups in the 2A and 3A tourneys.

Player Props: CJ Mullen, Soph., The Classical Academy: TCA’s still alive thanks to winning Region 7 in dramatic fashion last weekend. The Titans scored four runs in the top of the seventh inning to defeat Delta 8-7 in the regional final. There were many heroes in this game for TCA and one was Mullen. He was 2-for-4 at the plate and knocked in two runs and scored two runs. Now, Mullen and his teammates will try and spring another upset when they face Berthoud in their first game of the 3A state tournament at 11:30 a.m., Friday at Butch Butler Field.

Class 3A

The 3A state qualifiers: No. 1 Eaton (24-0), No. 2 Berthoud (24-1), No. 3 University (21-4), No. 4 Resurrection Christian (21-4), No. 5 Coal Ridge (23-2), No. 6 Colorado Academy (18-4), No. 8 Forge Christian (20-5) and No. 10 The Classical Academy (18-4).

Key games

Resurrection Christian vs. Coal Ridge, 9 a.m., Friday at University

This is certainly an intriguing game in the eight-team field. RC won Region 4 by cruising past North Fork (12-2) and No. 13 Lamar (12-0). The Cougars, who won six of their last seven games, are led by Vaughn Green (.565), Caden Bailey (.414) and Bennett Ruby (.392). Braedyn Budd has a team-best 1.31 ERA for RC.

Coal Ridge comes in riding a nine-game victory binge. The Titans disposed of Pagosa Springs (13-3) and Montezuma-Cortez (13-3) to take the Region 5 crown. Ben Simons (.569), Alex Serna (.537) and John Luke Houston (.457) have been the offensive stars for Coal Ridge. Simons also has a miniscule 0.55 ERA.

University (21-4) vs. Colorado Academy (18-4), 9 a.m., Friday, Butch Butler Field

University has its eyes set on finding a way to win a state crown. The march to a title begins with a battle against Colorado Academy. University advanced to the eight-team state tourney by blanking Bennett (10-0) and Peak to Peak (10-0) to win Region 3. The Bulldogs are sporting a 5-2 record in their last seven games and those two losses were to Eaton (6-1) and Berthoud (3-2 in eight innings). University is led by Dalton Yaste (.511), Jacob Cruz (.500) and Kaleb Tejada (.443). On the mound, senior Connor Weber has been in the spotlight with his stout 0.57 ERA.

Colorado Academy is coming off a Region 6 victory with wins over Roaring Fork (9-5) and La Junta (11-0). The Mustangs have a 7-2 record in their last nine games, with losses coming to Denver Christian (13-9) and Forge Christian (2-1). CA’s top batters are Jordan Reiter (.476), Fraser Smith (.467) and Owen McCandless (.425). Reider also has an impressive (0.50 ERA) on the mound.

Class 2A

State qualifiers: Limon (24-0); Denver Christian (20-4); Las Animas (23-2), Monte Vista (19-3), Buena Vista (17-6); Swink (17-7); Lyons (16-7); and Dayspring Christian Academy (15-5).

Key games

Swink vs. Lyons, Friday, 9:30 a.m., Andenucio Field, Runyon Field Sports Complex

This is a true matchup of underdogs as Swink is the No. 13 seed, and Lyons is the No. 12 seed.
Swink is riding a tidal wave of momentum after defeating Yuma (12-11) and No. 4 seed Peyton (7-4 in nine innings) to win Region 4 last week.

Swink is paced offensively by Nate Cabrera, who has a team-best .541 batting average with three home runs. Landon Mills (.485) and Connor Clodfether (.413) are also providing a punch for the Lions. Cabrera also has a team-best 3.02 ERA. Swink, after getting swept in a doubleheader by Fowler on May 10, have won three games in a row.

Lyons took the upset road to win Region 5 beating Trinidad (6-0) and No. 5 Holyoke (9-3). Zach LaCrosse (.457) and Jake LaCrosse (.455) are Lyons’ top hitters and Zach (0.39 ERA), and Jake (1.73 ERA) are also their team’s top pitchers. The Lions are on improbable run as they ended the regular season with a 2-3 record, before reeling off regional wins.

Las Animas vs. Dayspring Christian Academy, noon, Andenucio Field, Runyon Field

Las Animas has been right near the top of the 2A standings all season and now it has the chance to prove it is the best team in the state – beginning this weekend. Las Animas, the No. 3 seed, zoomed past Dolores Huerta (12-2) and No. 14 St. Mary’s (10-5) last weekend.

The Trojans are powered at the plate by TJ Ortiz (.632), Braydon Ortiz (.494) and Damien Baca (.440). Braydon (0.92 ERA) and TJ (2.03 ERA) are also Las Animas’ top hurlers. The Trojans are riding a modest four-game winning streak. The Eagles are fresh off capturing the Region 6 crown with wins over No. 22 Byers (6-1) and No. 27 Wray (7-1). Owen Steward (.465), Logan Vaniddeking (.413) and Josiah Rodriguez (.412) are the focal point of the Dayspring’s attack. Vaniddeking is Dayspring’s ace on the mound with a 0.83 ERA.