DENVER – By the time the top of the third inning ended and Regis Jesuit was getting ready to bat in a scoreless game, the No. 2 Raiders were being out-hit 5-1 by Cherokee Trail. That trend continued through the entire game Friday afternoon, with the No. 11 Cougars notching one more hit across seven innings, but Regis did more with its chances to win 3-0 at All City Park and advance to the Class 5A semifinal.

An unconventional run got things going for the Raiders in the bottom of the third despite the sluggish start. Nick Wiley launched a high fly ball into left field that the defender lost in the sun and fell for a double. He was replaced by courtesy runner Colin Dwyer, who moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Jace Filleman. Christian Lopez was hit by a pitch and immediately stole second base, but the real action started as Dwyer’s lead off third got progressively longer against Cherokee Trail lefty Carter Wilcox. Dwyer eventually bolted and the Cougars’ catcher popped up. At the same time, Wilcox rushed his motion home and the rapid change of positions between the two players sent the ball to the backstop around the same time Dwyer dove across the plate.

“You get to this point — especially against a team like CT and the arms that they have — you have to take advantage,” Regis Jesuit coach Matt Darr said. “That steal of home was huge. It gave us a run and some momentum there. You have to be able to get runs at this point because it’s all about momentum.”

The Raiders tacked on two more runs after that, Gavin Cronin roping a two-out double in the fourth and Andrew Bell mashing a solo shot to dead center in the fifth.

The efficient offense backed an equally efficient day of pitching at defense. Liam Mosley struck out only one batter across five innings but effectively pitched to contact. He issued no walks, scattered seven hits and rolled the Cougars into two double plays. Matteo Momo closed the door with three strikeouts across the final two innings.

“We’ve focused a lot on the little things because I’ve been doing this long enough to know that that’s what it comes down to,” Darr said with a laugh. “Being able to turn two, bunt defenses, little things like that win you tight games.”

Regis advanced earlier in the day with a 3-1 win against Fort Collins. The Raiders fell behind 1-0 after two innings but answered with two runs in third and never trailed again. Two of those runs came from Brody Chyr, who had a solo shot and a sacrifice fly.

Hudson Alpert went the distance and struck out eight across seven innings. The only damage was a one-run single from Ben Hopper.

Cherokee Trail held off a comeback attempt from Horizon earlier in the day to win 3-2. The Cougars’ rally in the third inning came on hits from Brody Ceyrolles and Landon Olds, plus a sacrifice fly from Jake Hernandez.

Cherry Creek 4, Grandview 1: Over at All Star Park, the No. 5 Bruins advanced to the first semifinal after holding the Wolves scoreless following the second inning.

The teams were knotted 1-1 after the second, but the Bruins were able to produce runs in the fourth and fifth innings to pull away.

Cherry Creek won its opener with an 8-0 drubbing of Chaparral, scoring in each of the first four innings. Connor Larkin had a home run and triple, finishing with two RBI. Will Taylor also went yard and added two RBI.

Wyatt Rudden allowed just three hits and buzzed down nine batters during the complete game.

No. 16 Grandview upset No. 8 Prairie View 13-5 earlier in the day to earn the right to face Cherry Creek. Jax Pfister had a homer and Wyatt Waterhouse tripled.