PUEBLO — Peyton is a well-balanced baseball team and if there was any doubt about that, the Panthers erased them all on Saturday at the Runyon baseball complex in Pueblo.
In the two games they played, Peyton showed strength in both pitching and on offense as it grabbed a 15-0 win over Denver Christian and an 8-1 win over Buena Vista to advance to the Class 2A championship game next Saturday.
In the first game, as strong as the Panthers (17-1) overall were offensively, it was the arm of CJ Lashley that was perhaps the most impressive part of their game. Lashley threw a four-inning no-hitter which gave his team a huge mental boost not just for their second game of the day but for the remainder of the 2A state baseball tournament.
“We’re an all-around team,” Lashley said. “Throwing that no-hitter definitely gave us a lot of confidence and helped us save some arms for the next game. It shows that it’s not one player on the team, we have balance throughout the whole roster.”
Lashley helped his own cause early in the first game as he ripped a 3-RBI triple in the second that pushed the Peyton lead to 6-0 over Denver Christian. They added nine more runs to finish off the game in the bottom of the 4th, just before Runyon went into a lightning delay for close to an hour.
When they took the field against Buena Vista, the Panthers showed no sign of slowing down. They again jumped on the board early and Brennen Meyers pitched five solid innings.
The Panthers will have a chance at avenging their only loss of the season as they’ll head back to Pueblo next Saturday to face No. 1 Limon. The Badgers beat St. Mary’s 8-1 then rallied in a big way to beat Rye 16-6 to advance to the state championship game.
A four-run first inning for Rye put Limon (19-0) in an early hole, but they responded in a big way in the bottom of the 2nd. Kory Tacha tied the game with a 2-RBI single and then the Badgers added five more in the inning to take firm control.
“We’ve been down like that before,” Tacha said. “We had to battle back in games earlier in the season and we’re good at that. We’re a team that can battle through adversity and come out on top.”
Limon and Peyton met earlier in the year, back on May 21, when the Badgers got a 4-2 win. That game featured a pitching matchup of Lashley and Tacha and it wouldn’t be shocking to see the same matchup in a week’s time.
The 2A baseball state championship game will begin at 9:30 a.m. on June 26 at Hobbs Field.