PUEBLO – The 10-year wait is over.

Denver Christian capped its magical season by beating reigning back-to-back state champion Limon 5-3 in the Class 2A title game Saturday at Rawlings Field on the Colorado State University-Pueblo campus and win state for the first time since 2013.

Denver Christian has now won state baseball titles in 1996, 2013 and 2023.

“God has taken us on one incredible ride,” Denver Christian coach Sam Jones said. “Without Him, we are not standing here. The program was in a tough spot. They had not won more than four games since 2014 and those first fall practices for the first six months I had one guy showing up and I didn’t know what I got into. We had really incredible ball players come through and the guys bought into what we were doing. They started working really hard and the culture changed and to see where it came from four years ago is nothing short of a miracle.”

No. 3-seed Denver Christian finished the season 24-3 while Limon ended at 23-5.

The game certainly had some tense moments for the Thunder especially in the bottom of the seventh clinging to a 5-2 lead.

DC relief pitcher Mason Reilly got into a jam. Lead-off hitter Trey Smith began the frame with a double. Jordan Rockwell then lined a single to left to put runners at the corners. Limon’s Keon Bandy, on a 1-2 count, blooped a single to center to score Smith, making it 5-3 DC.

With the pressure at a paramount – the sophomore Reilly was at his best.

With runners at the corners, the right-hander delivered a clutch strike out of Cale Bennett, for the first out. Lance Beedy came to the plate, and he fanned him looking while Bandy stole second base.

That set the stage for a pressured packed at-bat for freshman Brody Sherrer, who worked a walk to load the bases. Mason Jaques, a junior walked in the box, and got down 1-2, and Reilly struck him out swinging on a fastball for the victory.

“My heart was skipping a beat,” Jones said. “I believe in Mason, and I believe in everybody on this team. Mason has been one of our workhorses on the mound all year and I was going to ride or die with him.”

Reilly, who had three hits and came in relief for 1 2/3 innings to secure the win, was thrilled with the outcome.

“This was a dream game for me,” said the 6-foot-2, 160-pounder. “I have been waiting for this for a long time. We made it to the Final 8 last season and then came back this season and pushed through and got it done. I was seeing the ball well at the plate and in that last inning I had a lot of nerves especially when the first couple of guys got hits. I had to make sure I took a break. That last strikeout (to end the game) was a huge relief.”

The steady rain early in the game didn’t seem to bother Denver Christian.

The Thunder took a 2-0 lead in the first inning with two hits in the top of the first, including an RBI double by Caleb Stork.

In the top of the second DC kept things rolling with RBI doubles by Nathan Buehrer and Reilly.

DC starting pitcher Brayden Epperhard didn’t give up a hit for the first 2.1 innings, but that changed when Bandy laced an RBI-double down the line in the top of third off the 345-foot wall in left field. Bennett, the next batter, slapped a run-scoring single to get the Badgers within 4-2.

With one out in the top of the fourth, Reilly singled to left to load the bases, bringing up Asher Hawes who lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to plate a run and make it 5-2 Thunder.

Limon mounted a rally with two outs in the fifth. Bandy was hit by a pitch and Bennett singled ending the day for starting pitcher Brayden Epperhard. The junior finished with three hits, two earned runs, three walks and two hit batters. Reilly came in relief and fanned Beedy looking on a full-count fastball.

Reilly mowed through the sixth inning, setting the stage for his memorable finish in the seventh.

“It is an honor and privilege to coach these guys,” Jones said. “To earn one of these (state championships) with all the Colorado legends who have won them, I’m nowhere near those guys, but I’m just thankful for the opportunity to coach these young men and we are looking forward to celebrating tonight.”