(1) Eaton 10, (11) Colorado Academy 9

GREELEY – The lightning may have delayed gameplay for two hours, but there was no delaying the inevitable.

Eaton overcame a five-run deficit, scoring five in the fourth to get a 10-9 win over a resilient Colorado Academy team in the Class 3A baseball state tournament.

The win guarantees the Reds a shot at a third consecutive state title next week. They’ll get to relax on Friday as their opponent is determined and will have to be beat twice on Saturday at Butch Butler Field. That’s a tall task for a team that hasn’t dropped a game all season. But if Sunday’s contest proved anything, it’s that anyone still standing has a shot at winning the whole thing.

“We [needed this game],” Eaton coach Todd Hernandez said. “We need this for a lot of reasons, first to remind us that we’re not 10 feet tall and bulletproof. Baseball is baseball. We talk about it all the time that the best teams in the major leagues still get beat 60 times a year.”

It was a shaky start for pitcher Mitch Haythorn, who gave up six earned runs over 3 1/3 innings. Gunnar Garrison relieved him in the fourth and although he loaded the bases in the fifth, held the Mustangs scoreless in his work.

A two-hour weather delay halted play in the top of the second and it still took a little time for the Reds offense to figure out CA pitcher Jordan Reiter.

But they figured him out in the fourth. All five runs in the inning came with two outs, highlighted by at Tate Smith double that scored Walker Martin and Ryder True. Eaton took the lead the next inning as Gunnar Duncan drove in Kade Gentry with a single.

That lead went away in the top of the seventh when Eli Rudy, Reiter and Charlie Rakowski all scored to give the Mustangs a 9-7 lead, once again instilling belief that the impossible could be done.

Reiter was forced off the mound due to a pitch count limit in the bottom of the seventh. Consecutive base hits from Duncan and Lucas Stone put the tying run on base and Martin was issued his fourth intentional pass of the day to represent the winning run.

Duncan scored on a sacrifice fly to right by True. Smith was intentionally walked and them walks to Garrett Garrison and Haythorn brought in the tying and winning runs.

“I’ve never been so nervous in my life,” Haythorn said. “I just told myself it was just another AB. If it’s there, do what I need to do but I just had to do my job. I had to get the runner 90 feet from third to win us the game.”

Eaton won’t play again until Saturday and will face either University, Delta or Colorado Academy. Whoever makes it to the state title game will have to beat Eaton twice. And they’ll go into the weekend knowing they could face a Colorado Academy team that has all the belief in the world that it can be the team to bring Eaton down.

“They are extremely well-coached,” Hernandez said. “They do all the little things and they fight and scratch. Give those guys all the credit in the world. coach [JT] Putt does an incredible job with those guys.”


(7) Delta 13, (5) Montezuma-Cortez 3 ELIMINATION GAME

(Dan Mohrmann/ColoradoPreps.com)

In a lot of ways, the thunderstorms that forced the postponement of the 3A baseball tournament to Sunday was an inconvenience. For Delta, however, there was a lot of benefit.

Ty Reed was chased out of the Panthers’ Game 1 loss to University, but his pitch count was low enough with a full day’s rest, he ready to go against Montezuma-Cortez. When the Delta hitters, Reed included, put up five runs in the first inning, he knew he’d be called on to shut down Cortez.

“It started sink in the more we got into the Bayfield game,” Reed said. “We scored those 12 unanswered runs and we didn’t have to go to me. That allowed me to go today.”

With 85 pitches available, Reed entered the game in the second inning and was masterful on the mound. His performance, along with a continued surge from the Delta bats, lifted his team into the second weekend of the state tournament which begins next Friday.

Although it was a full team effort at the plate, Rylan Bynum led the charge going 3-for-3 with a double and three RBIs. Braeden Sprout also drove in three runs and start the game on the mound.

When Delta returns to Greeley, it gets a rematch with the Bulldogs on Friday at 10 a.m. at Butch Butler Field. The winner of that game will face the loser of Eaton and Colorado Academy later in the day.

The Bulldogs almost had Delta 10-runned, but the Panthers rallied – over the course of two days because of a weather delay – to get to within one.

Getting another shot at the Bulldogs is something that Reed is looking forward to considering the initial result.

“I really want that game,” he said.

It’s the entire mindset of the team at this point. Delta faced several 3A tournament teams this season and knows that the state tournament has been the perfect chance to right some wrongs and beating Cortez was a big part of that.

“We called this state tournament a revenge tour,” coach Steve Reiher said. “We had some teams that beat us, and we didn’t think we played our best ball. They played well against us.”


(2) University 10, (4) Coal Ridge 0 ELIMINATION GAME

(Dan Mohrmann/ColoradoPreps.com)

The suggestion to rock the alternate baby blue alternate uniforms came at the suggestion of University athletic director Ryan Wehrman’s wife.

So Wehrman called Bulldogs coach Casey Miller after the team was sent home following Saturday’s postponement of the 3A baseball tournament.

“The guys get a little more fired up when they wear them,” Wehrman said.

He was right.

Coel Croissant got things rolling for University with a leadoff triple in the first. He scored on a Dalton Yaste groundout, but it was the start of a good rally.

Riggs Towle doubled and would later score and he added an RBI double in the second to make it a 5-0 game. University’s loss to Colorado Academy on Friday was the first to a non-Eaton opponent since falling to Loveland 3-0 on April 1, 2022.

“You can’t take a loss like that,” senior Korey Koehler said. “We had to come out and show out and that’s exactly what we did.”

And it seemed to anger the Bulldogs. There was a competitive fire in the team that was missing in the first two games, and they took the field on Sunday morning with the intention of showing that they still belong in this tournament.

And as the game went on, it was clear that the day was going to belong to Koehler. Behind the quick lead that the offense gave him, he threw six shutout innings and gave up just two hits along the way. He also ripped a 2-RBI single to put his team up 10-0 in the bottom of the sixth, which ended the game. It was a much-needed performance from the senior on a day where University had to win to get another crack at a state title.

“It’s fitting for us because we’re the Bulldogs and we ask our kids to be dogs,” Miller said. Korey Koehler was an absolute dog today.”

The Bulldogs will play the winner of Delta and Montezuma-Cortez at Butch Butler Field Friday at 10 a.m.

The loss ends a remarkable season for Coal Ridge. The Titans lost just two games all year and both came in the 3A state tournament.