COLORADO SPRINGS — And it's down to two. With monster offensive outputs on Friday, Silver Creek and Pueblo West are set to square off with the Class 4A baseball title on the line.
The Raptors maintained their undefeated 4A tournament record after a 13-7 win over Fort Morgan in the afternoon game. Earlier in the day, the Cyclones looked the best they have all year in a 14-1 win over Holy Family.
Silver Creek's win also keeps it's record against Colorado teams perfect in 2019. They got things rolling early with a four-run first inning against Fort Morgan ace Mateo Salcido. Justin Swenson pushed the first run across the board with a ground ball to second base, scoring Charlie Jackson.
Cam Hassert then got Michael Wegleitner and Swenson across the plate with a 2-RBI single. It was that first inning that helped set the tone and give starting pitching Ryan Suess a little breathing room.
"That's a senior stepping up right there," Silver Creek coach Brad Steward said. "He didn't do so well last week but he battled back and found his groove. That's why we are where we are. A senior stepped up and found his groove."
The Mustangs (19-10 overall) started getting to Suess in the top of the fifth inning as JP Hamer ripped a 2-RBI double to the wall to cut the Raptors (27-2) lead to four runs. Isaac Linker added a single to score Hamer to make it a 7-4 game, but Suess got of the jam with a big strikeout of Nick Norris.
The Silver Creek bats came alive again in the bottom of the sixth as six runs crossed the plate. The Mustangs tried to string together a rally in the seventh, but the hole was too deep to dig out of.
With a title within sight, the Raptors just have to play the kind of baseball they've played all year for one more day.
"We just have to come back and keep our edge and our competitiveness," Silver Creek centerfielder Spencer Rich said. "We have to have fun."
Pueblo West's day started much the same way as Silver Creek's. A six-run first inning was all the working room that starting pitcher Nate Denniston needed.
He threw five innings and allowed just one earned run on five hits while striking out three hitters.
"We hit the ball in timely spots but today was how we usually play," coach Dan Sanchez said. "I wasn't surprised at all and I can't say enough about Nate Denniston on the mound. What a senior year for him. He's been awesome for us."
The bats continued to roll as Pueblo West totaled 11 hits in the game. Only one of them went for extra bases as Tyler Barth ripped bases clearing triple in the first inning.
Last week, the Cyclones (26-3) had to rally twice to get to the battle of unbeaten teams on Saturday. They didn't have the comeback magic on Saturday and fell to Silver Creek. Now the Cyclones have to beat the Raptors twice. There's not a team in Colorado that's even managed to do it once this year.
But the Cyclones aren't worried about winning the second game. They know they have to just win the first and figure things out from there.
"It's just another game," centerfielder Jayden Cordova said. "It's taking it one game at a time and playing our game the right way."
Cordova went 1-for-1 with a single, a walk and he was hit by a pitch. He scored three runs on the day. The Cyclones will need that kind of production as well as the production they got through the lineup if they plan on coming away with a state championship on Saturday.