PUEBLO – Brayden Epperhart’s last prep baseball game was one for the memory books.

The senior fired 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball and had an RBI bunt, powering Denver Christian to a 2-1 win over Limon Saturday for its second-consecutive Class 2A state championship at Colorado State University-Pueblo’s Rawlings Field.

“I didn’t get a lot of sleep (Friday night), I’m going to be honest,” the 6-foot-3, 180-pound righthander said. “I came in with the mindset that we have been here before. This isn’t anything new and just trusting in the Lord and making sure that everybody is working in unison and the only way we can win a baseball game is if we are all working together.

“This feels pretty great. I give all the honor and the glory to the Lord. It’s an awesome legacy to leave at an awesome school. It is great way to go out.”

This is Denver Christian’s fourth state baseball crown in school history to go along with the ones it captured in 1996, 2013 and 2023. DC, which beat Limon 5-3 to win 2A state in 2023, finished the season with a 24-4 record.

Limon (28-2) was playing in its fourth-consecutive 2A title game – it won state in 2021 and 2022.

The Badgers would have had to beat Denver Christian twice to earn the 2A state championship because Limon lost to Lyons 5-1 in the first weekend of the state tourney and came back through the consolation bracket, finishing with a 4-2 record in the double-elimination tourney.

This season Limon edged Denver Christian 8-6 on March 23.

“This year was an absolute battle,” Denver Christian coach Sam Jones said. “The first one is nice, you get the monkey off your back, and this one was a whole different animal. I’m so proud of these guys and I love them so much. I’m so blessed to be their coach and I’m so grateful for the opportunity God has given me to be their coach and lead this school and this program, all the glory to Jesus Christ. It is just a privilege to coach these young men and coach alongside these amazing assistant coaches, they do an outstanding job every single day.”

The game turned into a marvelous pitching battle between Epperhart and Limon star athlete Jordan Rockwell as the game was scoreless through five innings.

That set the table for a drama-filled sixth inning.

With one out in the top of the frame, Mason Reilly registered an infield hit beating the throw by Limon shortstop Cale Bennett to the bag. Asher Hawes then smashed a single up the middle, allowing Reilly to race to third and Hawes to move to second on the throw to third.

Up came Brayden Epperhart and he bunted a slow roller to Rockwell. Rockwell scooped up the ball and threw to catcher Trey Smith, but Reilly slid in safely.

“Our philosophy in this program is to find ways to manufacturer runs and I’m a big believer in small ball,” Jones said. “I think that is the way the game should be played and Brayden Epperhart did an amazing job of executing that well and Mason did an outstanding job getting in there and diving into home. That’s stuff we practice every single day. They get so sick of practicing bunting, but it shows up in the big moments like this and you never know when the little things are going to translate in those big moments right there.”

Patrick Elson then stepped to the plate and the junior, who struck out in his two previous at-bats, was given choices by Coach Jones – bunt of hit away.

Elson selected the second option and responded by cracking a single up middle to score Hawes and give DC a 2-1 advantage.

“This feels amazing,” Elson said. “I was going up there expecting that Coach (Jones) was going to rely on me to bunt and then he gave me that option and put that faith in me and asked me if I wanted to swing the bat. I told him I did and there is just no more rewarding feeling than getting that hit and scoring for the team and having all my brothers behind me cheering me on.”

Limon countered in the bottom of the sixth.

Keon Bandy drew a one-out walk and then Lance Beedy, the next batter, drove a double over left fielder Nolan Epperhart’s head, plating Bandy. Epperhart, a sophomore, and the younger brother of Brayden, however, was able to fire the ball back in and Beedy was tagged out at third.

Holding on a slim 2-1 lead, Brayden walked the next batter Brody Scherrer. That brought Cale Bennett to the plate and Coach Jones summoned for relief pitcher Reilly.

Reilly came through by striking out Bennett.

Limon had one final opportunity in the bottom of the seventh to tie or win the game, but Reilly slammed the door again. The junior struck out the side to secure DC’s title.