Holy Family, Eaton to play for 3A baseball championship

(Bethany Brookens/CHSAANow.com)

(Bethany Brookens/CHSAANow.com)

GREELEY -- It will be a rematch of their showdown last weekend when Holy Family and Eaton face off Saturday morning for the Colorado Class 3A state baseball title.

The two teams met May 17 in the double-elimination bracket with Holy Family taking an 8-5 victory.

Holy Family remained the tournament’s only unbeaten team by eliminating Lamar on Friday 9-7.

Just when it looked like the Tigers were going to enter Saturday’s championship playing a winner-take-all match for the state title, they gave themselves a buffer. Holy Family scored four runs in the top of the  inning to overcome a two-run deficit.

The Savages (19-6) took the lead on a three-run fourth inning highlighted by Brent Crampton’s three-run double.

Savages starting pitcher Darin Cook went into the seventh inning but gave up a double to open the frame. He gave way to Braden Forney, who gave up back-to-back singles before leadoff hitter Conor Stanley, who deposited a 1-0 pitch over the leftfield fence for the final margin.

“I hadn’t done enough all game,” Stanley said. “I was just looking to get that run home.”

Eaton, meanwhile, set the tone from the outset in its game with Faith Christian, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning.

“If you’re going to be the visitor, you’d better come out and attack them,” Reds coach Jim Danley said.

The key blow was a two-run single by Ryan Koehler, who would add a two-run double in the second to give the Reds a 6-2 advantage.

The rest was up to Eaton starting pitcher Jake Nelson, who held the Eagles scoreless after the first inning.

“He had a very solid outing,” Danley said of Nelson giving up two runs on seven hits, four strikeouts and just two walks.

Koehler finished with four hits and five RBI.

“You can’t really mess around with a team like that,” he said of his fast start against Faith Christian.

Holy Family coach Erik Nakagana said his team wanted to enter Saturday unbeaten, meaning they would need to lose twice to not win a title.

“You want to play with that momentum,” he said.

Danley has a lot of respect for Holy Family, which has only one loss on the season.

“I’ve seen college teams that can’t hit like that,” he said of the Tigers’ potent lineup.

By getting Nelson to pitch into the seventh inning, “The rest of our (pitching) staff is clear,” Danley said.

Eaton is confident it came win two games against the Tigers.

“It’ll be a fun game,” Koehler said.