DENVER — Even the most optimistic dreamers couldn’t have envisioned what happened Saturday.
The Rocky Mountain High School baseball team entered the day needing three wins in two days to win a Class 5A state title.
First up was Saturday’s game at All-City Field against Cherry Creek, with the winner knowing it would need to beat Cherokee Trail twice Sunday to win the championship.
It was expected to be a white-knuckle affair, with the loser going home.
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Instead, the Lobos were shockingly dominant, winning 17-4 via the five-inning mercy rule after scoring 13 runs in the first two innings.
“We all feed of each other so well,” said Kadin Breeze, who had three RBIs, including a two-run double to break the game open in a 10-run second inning. “Today was just a game about momentum; one guy brought it to the next, and we just kept it going.”
The win was huge in many ways for Rocky Mountain. Most important was it keeps the Lobos alive for their sixth state title.
How it happened could make that possible. Ace lefty Austin Alarid started the game. After a 10-pitch inning in top of the second, coach Scott Bullock pulled Alarid.
After throwing 19 pitches in the first, the move means Alarid can throw 41 pitches during Sunday’s action, based on new pitch-limit rules instituted by CHSAA this season.
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In relief Rian Olson threw four innings, allowing three earned runs.
The offensive explosion was something to behold and a display of Rocky Mountain at its best.
Eleven different players earned hits for the Lobos, who rattled out 15. Jadon Uhrich, Spencer Gendreau, Alarid and Easton Dolan all had two RBIs each.
“I’m like everyone else in the yard, I was just so impressed with our kids,” Bullock said. “We had such a good approach at the plate, such a good two-strike approach.”
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Rocky Mountain, which has won five titles, will now play in the final day of the tournament for the seventh time in 10 years.
The Lobos will face Cherokee Trail (21-4) at 10 a.m. Sunday at All-City. To win the title, Rocky Mountain will have to beat Cherokee Trail in the first game and then again at 12:30 p.m.
Cherokee Trail is the lone unbeaten in the double-elimination tournament and the Cougars beat Rocky Mountain 7-0 last week.
“Last time they threw a lefty, and we were off our game,” Breeze said. “We have to be confident in the work we’ve put in. This definitely reassures our confidence. I don’t think there’s a better way to go into tomorrow.”
Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle at twitter.com/Kevin_Lytle and at facebook.com/KevinSLytle.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN 17, CHERRY CREEK 4
Rocky Mountain 3 10 0 13x x — 17 15 1
Cherry Creek 001 12x x — 4 9 2
W — Olsen, L — VanGutenbeek.
2B — Uhrich (RM), Dolan (RM), Breeze (RM) Sweeney (CC), Schultz (CC), O’Tremba (CC), Gill (CC).
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