By Angela Mayhan

2021-06-16 18:38:25

On June 10th four teams including Holly (#1), Eads (#2), Stratton-Liberty (#4) and Cheyenne Wells (#3) from the plans of eastern Colorado made the trek to Las Animas to play the District #2 Baseball tournament. The Holly Wildcats and the Stratton-Liberty Knighted Eagles started the morning off at 10:30 am with an anticipated battle. Holly came out on top of that match with a 15-4 win to send the Wildcats into the Championship game later that afternoon.

The next game at 12:30 pm between the Cheyenne Wells Tigers and the Eads Eagles turned out to be quite a match as the Tigers had been looking forward to a rematch with the Eagles since their loss to them earlier in the season. The Tigers came out fighting and took the Eagles in this game with a win 6-2 to send them into the Championship game and punching their ticket to the Regional tournament next weekend.

Holly will host one of the regional tournaments that features Holly (#3), Eads (#6) and Simla (#15).  The Eagles will first take on Simla with the winner playing Holly for the right to move on to the Final Four state tournament in Denver the next week.  This regional tournament will be held on Friday, June 18 with the Eads v Simla game getting started at 10am.

Cheyenne Wells (#12) will be at El Pomar Sports Complex in Colorado Springs and will take on Nucla (#5) in the first game of the day.  That winner will advance to the state-qualifying game against Evangelical Christian (#4).  This regional tournament will be held on Saturday, June 19, with the Cheyenne Wells v Nucla game getting started at 10am, as well.

At the district tournament in Las Animas on Thursday, the Eads Eagles took the field as the home team with freshman Brentley Lening on the hill slinging five and a third innings of the seven-inning ballgame.  The right-hander allowed 11 hits and six runs while striking out four.  Lening worked hard on the hill being able to strike out his first batter of the day, but the Tigers got to work and put some players on the base pads with singles by Alex Mitchek and Ty Scheler getting the Tigers up by two in the top of the first inning, 2-0.

Scheler took the mound for the Tigers and in finding his groove managed to strikeout three of the six Eagle batters in the first inning, but not before allowing Hatch Nelson to find his way around the bases for the first run of the day for the Eagles.  Eads would strand 2 runners, Zack Fowler and Cade McDowell, as both were hung out in scoring position at second and third.

In the top of the second inning the Tigers got their bats going again with Blake Gilmore, Brett Mayhan, and Ty Scheler all getting singles for the team to put them back in scoring position with Gilmore and Mayhan scoring before Lening could fan one Tiger for an out. Cheyenne Wells would score 2 more runs in the top of the second leaving the score at 4-1 with Eads coming to the plate.

 Scheler was back on the mound and still in his groove striking out the next three batters to close that inning 4-1.

The third inning saw equal intensity from both teams, but the Eagles returned the favor to the Tigers with three outs on the next three Tiger batters with another strikeout for Lening as well as a ground out straight back to him and another to his backup shortstop Nelson. 

Scheler was back on the mound to close this inning out in four batters but allowied Nelson on base with a walk.  The Tiger infield was behind him, though, making the play on a pop out by Porter Spady to first baseman Alex Mitchek and a ground out from Zack Fowler to third baseman Kody Ryser all the while Nelson was making his way around the bases to find his way home to score the second run of the day for the Eagles.  Scheler would then settle in striking out the next batter, but leaving the score close at 4-2.

With both teams determined, they hit the field in the 4th inning.  Eads still had Lening on the mound, but the Tigers were starting to take a toll on his young arm as the freshman allowed two runners to walk.  The Eagle defense stayed strong, though, and didn’t allow any scoring by being able to pick off two Tigers on base.  AJ Vasquez got one at first and McDowell nailed another one at third.  McDowell also caught a pop up for the third out.  But Eads still couldn’t get anything going against Scheler and the tenacious Tiger defense in the bottom of the fourth.  The Tigers stayed stingy holding their lead, 4-2.

As the Tiger defense held off Eads’ strong offensive attack, their offense started chipping away at Lening.  In the top of the fifth inning the Tigers got one run off the freshman after allowing Scheler, Alex Mitchek, Kody Ryser, and Brock Ziegler to all single.  The Eads defense held strong behind Lening as he allowed only one run from an error in the field.  A nice play from shortstop Nelson to catcher Fowler prevented Scheler from scoring.  An RBI single from Ziegler granted Alex Mitchek a run, and a fly out to center fielder Damien Barnes ended the inning. 

Now trailing 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth the Eagles hoped to attack.  However, Scheler had other ideas and continued to dominate from the mound getting his 10th strikeout.  Again, the Tiger defense helped him out of a jam catching a pop out in foul territory recovered by first baseman Alex Mitchek and a ground out to Ryser.

Lening remained on the bump for Eads to start the top of the sixth.  The Eagles continued to battle with one away with a fly out to Barnes. The Tigers get two singles including one from Evan Worley and another by Cade Mitchek.

Ty Wilson was then called from the bullpen in relief on the mound, and with plays from his infield finished the inning, but not before Cade Mitchek made his way home. The battery of Scheler and Mayhan continued to work well together again this inning making plays on two of the four Eagle batters in the bottom of the sixth and striking out one more. McDowell doubled on a fly ball to centerfield allowing him to make it all the way to 3rd base before the end of the inning. Eads was down 6-2 and still couldn’t make anything happen.

Wilson continued to work hard on the hill in the top of the seventh inning in order to allow the Eagles another chance at making their comeback in this last inning.  The junior showed his skills on the mound striking out the last two batters of the inning after a nice catch in the outfield by Barnes. 

With the Eagles back at the plate for their last chance at recovery in their last at-bat in the bottom of the seventh, Donte Sierra singled on a fly ball to put him on base. Wilson struck out swinging and Scheler allowed pinch hitter Brandon Lening a free base.  With two aboard and one out, Barnes flew out to left fielder Cade Mitchek for two outs. As Scheler approached his pitching limits, he started to show some fatigue as he walked Nelson juicing the bases.  Porter Spady then came up to bat and saw one strike before putting the ball in play directly to third baseman Ryser and with a perfect hip throw to Alex Mitchek at first base ended the game and captured the 6-2 win for the Tigers.

Nelson had a good day at the plate for Eads walking three times and scoring twice.  Fowler had two RBIs as the senior found a way to get the ball in play.  Only McDowell and Donte Sierra got hits in the game.  Scheler had one of his best performances of the season going the distance and giving up just two hits and two earned runs.  He would walk five but struck out a strong 12 Eagle batters.

Although the Eagles were eliminated from the District Tournament with the loss, their RPI standing at the state level was high enough to punch their ticket to the regional playoffs.  With the win the Tigers advanced to the District championship game against a loaded Holly group in the final game of the day that saw temperatures soar up over the century mark.

The Wildcats were the home team in this game as they sported an 11-4 overall record but had won the league with a 4-0 win over Eads the week before.  Lefty Brigden Parker started on the mound for the Wildcats and showed his strength and speed by striking out his first three batters of the day.

Kody Ryser took the hill for the Tigers and must have thrown exactly what the Wildcat batters wanted to see allowing home runs from Jose Magallanes and Bridgen Parker.  Ryser also allowed 4 other batters on base during his short time on the mound.

Relief came in the form of Blake Gilmore with Brett Mayhan taking his place behind the plate.  Gilmore worked to find his stride, but allowed singles from Dylan Tomayo, Nick Vasquez, Wyatt Cook and Dakota Eaton.  Julian Terrazas and Parker added a couple of doubles, while Magallanes added his second dinger of the game. The Tigers finally got their footing and ended the inning with plays to third baseman Kody Ryser and a fly out to left fielder Cade Mitchek. With a tough inning behind them and Holly ahead 13-0 after the first inning the Tigers had no other choice but to get their heads up and keep working.

In the top of the third inning Parker was still on the mound and would finally walk fellow pitcher Ty Scheler.  But strike outs to his next two opponents and a put out on Scheler by Eaton catching Scheler at first base ended the inning.  

The bottom of the third inning saw Gilmore trying his hand again at the Wildcat offense.  He saw two more batters before Wyatt Cook came to the plate and smashed the 4th home run of the game with two runners aboard putting the Wildcats in the lead 16-0. With nothing to lose, the Tigers decided to change their lineup and took Mayhan out of his sweaty catching gear to put him high on the hill. The Tigers feeling a change of confidence on the field were able to make some plays with a pop out to first baseman Alex Mitchek on a hit from Terrazas, followed by some infield plays to catch Parker stealing at second after a fly out to Cade Mitchek from Wildcat Dakota Eaton to get the Tigers out of that inning.

With the Wildcats maintaining their momentum, Parker continued to show his strength to the next three Tiger batters closing out the CW at-bat. 

Mayhan stayed on the mound for the Tigers and was able to get a pop out straight to him to start the bottom half of the fourth inning. The Wildcats’ Omar Moreno, Nick Vazquez, Cauy Stum and Cook all singled before an RBI double from Terrazas allowed Stum and Cook to score ending the game 21-0 based on a run rule.

Max Preps chose Holly Wildcat Jose Magallanes as the Player of the Game.

All three teams that played in Las Animas will continue their quest for the Colorado State 1A Baseball Title next week with Regional games being played around the state at host sites. We look forward to watching and cheering on our local teams and congratulate them in their success so far this season!

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