5A baseball: Rocky Mountain battles to win sixth championship

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

DENVER — The wait was well worth it.

On Sunday morning, Rocky Mountain woke up in the middle of the Class 5A baseball championship game, which had started Saturday afternoon only to be delayed by a rainstorm. Poor weather had seemingly chased the tournament throughout its two-week slate in late May.

And, 25 hours and 8 minutes after the first inning started Saturday, they were raising the trophy on Sunday afternoon. Under a sunny sky, without a cloud in sight. Without lightning, nor rain.

Rocky Mountain beat Broomfield, 9-5, to win the championship, the program's sixth.

"I knew we had it in us," said Rocky Mountain catcher Jadon Uhrich, who was big all tournament for the Lobos.

It was actually Rocky's second game this tournament that had to be suspended by bad weather. They had to play the final two innings in a win over Mountain Vista over two days, finishing on Tuesday.

"Never seen anything like this. This is a total different beast," said Rocky Mountain coach Scott Bullock. "But they're all different, and they're all hard."

On Sunday, it was Rocky's right-handed senior pitcher, John Sorensen, who stepped up in a huge way.

He allowed just two isolated hits through six innings, induced nine ground-ball outs, and struck out seven as he held Broomfield at bay.

"He's our leader," Uhrich said of Sorensen. "You know he's going to do it for you when it's the right time."

The Lobos' offense spotted him a 3-0 lead during a first inning that lasted roughly 23 hours because of a rain delay.

The championship game was suspended after it started on Saturday afternoon. A rainstorm blew in during the top of the first inning, and it left the surface at All-City Field unplayable.

Before that happened, though, Rocky Mountain scored twice, giving the Lobos a cushion to begin Sunday. The break didn't slow Rocky's momentum. Spencer Gendreau, who was batting when the game was suspended, doubled home Uhrich to make it 3-0 on Sunday.

Sorensen took it from there. He didn't allow a baserunner until the bottom of the fourth inning, and no one reached second base until the seventh.

In the top of the seventh, Rocky extended its lead.

Uhrich pushed it to 4-0 with an RBI double. Then, Trey Wagner drew a bases-loaded walk, and Trenton Medrano followed that with a double that scored two more. A passed ball made it 8-0, and Kalen Hammer's infield single added another run.

Broomfield never quit. The Eagles scored five in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Sorensen and Rocky Mountain were able to seal the win.

"Gotta keep things interesting," Sorensen joked afterward.

Broomfield pitcher Blake Rohm stepped up with a great effort, but had to come out after six innings when he came right up to the pitch-count limit with 109.

The two-day title game was the latest roadblock thrown Rocky Mountain's way. They started 0-4 at a national tournament in North Carolina, and battled injuries. But they only lost once more the rest of the way — until Broomfield beat them 7-2 in extra innings on Friday.

Once Broomfield beat Cherry Creek in a de facto semifinal game on Saturday, it set up the winner-take-all championship.

"This group has been together — including last summer — for 95 games. They were ready. They were ready," Bullock said. "It was just a matter of getting on the field and playing baseball."

Rocky Mountain's sixth title now ties it for the sixth-most in state history. All have come since 2007.

"I think it says a lot about our coaches, more than anything, because we come back every year with new players," Sorensen said. "They're always pushing us to do our best."

Bullock had a different perspective.

"It speaks volumes to the kids, and the families," he said. "Just unbelievable kids, year after year."

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)