D'Evelyn baseball jumps out early and hangs on against Golden

D'Evelyn sophomore Jack McMann slides head first into third base as Golden senior James Douthit waits for the ball during Tuesday's game at Golden High School. D'Evelyn handed the 4A Jeffco League champs its fourth straight loss with a 5-2 victory for the Jaguars. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

GOLDEN — D’Evelyn baseball continued to build some momentum heading into the postseason Tuesday afternoon at Golden High School.

The Jaguars (10-4 record) finished out the Class 4A Jeffco League round-robin tournament between D’Evelyn, Golden and Evergreen with a 5-2 road victory over the Demons (9-7).

Golden second baseman Anders Page-Roth leaps off the bag to go after a throw as D'Evelyn junior Bradley Blakemore slides into second on a steal. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“You want to be playing well going into regionals,” D’Evelyn coach Dan Porreco said. “This was a good win for us today.”

It was actually the third meeting between D’Evelyn and Golden since May 27. The Demons took the first meeting 2-0 to wrap up the conference title, but since that win Golden has dropped four straight games.

“The way we win games is we pitch well. We play defense and we have situational hitting,” Golden coach Jackie McBroom said. “If we don’t do those things we don’t win baseball games. We were doing that when we won league. It feels like we ran out of gas a little bit. We need to get back on track.”

D’Evelyn stepped on the gas early Tuesday afternoon plating four runs in the first three innings to take an early lead. Junior Bradley Blakemore got everything going with a lead-off double in the gap. Senior Matt Hatch and sophomore Kannon Perry both had an RBI in the first inning.

“(Porreco) and I actually talked about my swing right before the game,” Blakemore said. “I’ve had it really short and we made it a little longer. That really helped with the first pitch of the game that I hit for a double.”

Blakemore would single to right and score in the top of the second inning to extend the lead to 3-0. Junior Joe Zuber ripped an RBI double in the third inning to tack on another run. Blakemore struck again in the sixth inning with an RBI single to finish off his 3-for-3 game with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI.

“The loss to Evergreen hurt yesterday because I was on the mound,” Blakemore admitted. “Winning 3-of-4 is good, but we definitely need to beat Faith Christian on Thursday for RPI.”

D’Evelyn sat at No. 12 in the RPI rankings before the victory Tuesday. The top 24 teams in the RPI standings advance to the regional tournaments scheduled for Monday, June 14. The seeding meeting for regionals is scheduled for Sunday, June 13.

D'Evelyn junior pitcher Troy Benko picked up the win on the mound giving up just one run in five innings of work against Golden. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“We are working on that intensity,” Porreco said of his young team that features mainly sophomores and juniors. “Every inning and every pitch counts at regionals. We’ll get them ready.”

McBroom admits that the Demons must reset after a rollercoaster regular season. Golden went 1-3 out of the gates before going on an 8-game winning streak, but now the Demons are marred in a 4-game losing streak.

“We have to play with more confidence,” McBroom said. “We have to have better situational hitting. We had 16 runners on base today and scored 2 runs.”

Golden couldn’t come up with a big hit against D’Evelyn starting pitcher Troy Benko, who went five strong innings giving up six hits and five walks. Junior Blake Reini closed out the final two innings on the hill for the Jaguars giving up a run on three hits and a walk.

“We did come through in that aspect,” Porreco said about the Demons stranding a dozen runners on the bases. “Hopefully we can continue to carry this on to regionals.”

McBroom hopes the Demons can regain their mid-season form next week to advance out of regionals and into the 8-team double-elimination state tournament.

“To be honest with you, going into the season if you would have told me we were going to win league and get into the playoffs I would have been happy with that,” said McBroom, who also has a young team with little postseason experience due to the Spring 2020 season being cancelled due to COVID.

Golden was No. 15 in the RPI rankings before the loss to D'Evelyn. Evergreen will likely be the third representative out of 4A Jeffco. The Cougars could even host a regional. They were No. 6 in RPI heading into Tuesday’s action.

Golden junior Connor Brankin slides into third but is tagged out by D'Evelyn junior Joe Zuber on the play in the first inning Tuesday at Golden High School. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)