Rock Canyon tops Chatfield in 5A for school's first baseball title

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

Rock Canyon won the school's first baseball championship by beating Chatfield in the 5A finale on Wednesday. (Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

DENVER — After losing their first game of the state tournament, the Rock Canyon is the Class 5A baseball state champions.

The Jaguars rattled off five-straight wins, including a 9-2 win over Chatfield in the 5A state championship game to hoist the school's first baseball championship.

The Jaguars topped Mountain Vista 2-1 in the first game of the day to earn the right to face the Chatfield Chargers in the state title game. After taking a 8-2 lead in that championship game, a lightning delay suspended play for an hour, but Rock Canyon had the game well in control and the title well in hand.

"Every game was delayed and pushed back so why not do this one the same way?" Rock Canyon coach Tyler Munro said afterward. "It's a culmination. I feel it as a coach where it's like, 'We are going to win this game.' It was even there in the first game today. There was never a doubt."

The Jaguars were able to draw first blood, but not without some help from the Chargers' defense. Chris Givin reached base on an error by Chatfield second baseman Jack Winkler. He was able to swipe second base before being sacrificed over to third.

A slight twitch by Chargers pitcher Sean O'Dell was noticed by the umpires, prompting a balk call that scored Givin to give Rock Canyon an early 1-0 lead.

O'Dell made up for his blunder, leading off the Chatfield half of the first with a double. He, too, was advanced over on a bunt before scoring on a sacrifice fly to tie the game.

Rock Canyon greatly shifted the game in their favor in the top of the third. Another Chargers error put Ben Sneider on first base.

The small ball trend continued as Adam Schiller sacrificed Sneider to second before Quinn O'Neil drove him home on with an RBI single. O'Neil crossed home plate shortly after on a Daryl Myers double. After the third inning, the Jaguars held a 3-1 lead.

"It's a special way to end my senior year," O'Neil said of his performance. "It was so surreal to finish off like that; with a bang."

The Chargers were able to get one back in the bottom of the fourth, but Rock Canyon responded with two in the top of the fifth, with O'Neil and Myers each getting their second RBIs of the day. The Chargers committed six errors on Wednesday, a day after fielding woes contributed to their first loss of the tournament.

"Any given day, any given day, you never know," Chatfield coach Matt Johnson said. "This is a mental game and you have to be able to handle failure. It's how you bounce back from failure that defines you as a baseball player."

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

The Jaguars added three more runs in the top of the seventh before a lightning delay halted play for over an hour. Once the players returned to the field, the 9-2 lead was more than enough for Josh White, who able to cruise through the final inning. He finished the complete game by giving up only five hits and walking two Chargers.

"It feels good (to have that cushion)," White said. "At that point you're ready to go and ready to get the job done."

In the first game of the day, they were able to get past Mountain Vista with a 2-1 win, thanks to a 2-run single from Sneider. Chris Givin stayed strong on the mound, going all seven innings with six strikeouts. He only allowed four hits and didn't give up a single walk.

The state championship for Rock Canyon comes after it lost the first game of the state tournament in a 3-2 battle to Mountain Vista. The Jaguars then rattled off wins against Pine Creek and Cherry Creek in order to face the then-undefeated Chargers Tuesday.

They squeaked by Chatfield 7-6 in a game that Munro argued they deserved to lose.

But Wednesday was a new day. There was no talk of what they deserved to lose. Only about the championship they worked so hard to win.