Windsor coach Brad Deal will spend time this week putting together a scouting report on Valor Christian, the Wizards’ opponent in Friday’s opening-round game at the Class 4A state baseball tournament.
But that isn’t necessarily the most important thing for Windsor.
“We’ll just try to do the things that we do well, and that’s the biggest thing,” Deal said. “Hopefully we can pitch and play defense. That doesn’t change with anyone you play.
“Sometimes there might be a hitter, a guy you want to mark, as the guy you don’t want to let beat you. But for the most part, we just want to play the way we’ve been playing all year.”
Seventh-ranked Windsor squares off with the fourth-ranked Eagles in a 12:30 p.m. game at All-Star Park in Lakewood. The eight-team, double-elimination tournament, spread over two weekends, also includes Mountain View and Air Academy playing in a 10 a.m. game in Lakewood. Meanwhile at Frederick High School, Erie plays Delta at 10 a.m. and Pueblo West meets Longmont at 12:30 p.m.
The Windsor-Valor Christian winner turns around to play the Mountain View-Air Academy winner at 3 p.m., while the losers of the opening games would play one another Saturday at 10 a.m.
Windsor and Valor Christian hold 18-3 records.
The double-elimination format gives coaches some options in structuring their pitching rotation. Deal said late Sunday that he hadn’t yet decided whether to go with likely MLB draft pick and Colorado Mesa recruit Jake Greewalt (8-0, 1.01 ERA) or Corte Tapia (4-0, 1.70 ERA) in Friday’s opener.
Both threw shutouts in Saturday’s district wins over Weld Central and Pueblo Centennial.
“We’ve got Jake and we’ve got Corte,” Deal said. “We’ve got Christian (Montague), a lefty who is 3-0 with a save. We’ve got some different options. We’ll see how the kids feel and go from there.”
Valor Christian’s ace is 6-foot-5 freshman Davis Heller, who is 9-0 with a 2.10 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 40 innings. Sophomore Luke Ziegler is 4-1 with a 2.03 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 38 innings.
“They usually have some big-bodied, live-arm kids,” Deal said. “We’ll see what they have pitching-wise. We’ll just call around and talk to some people who have played them.”
For Windsor, junior Mitchell Watson is hitting .448 with eight doubles, four triples and four homers and leads the team with 18 RBIs in 67 at-bats. Sophomore Braden Peninger is hitting .426.
Valor Christian has a team batting average of .355 while averaging 9.2 runs per game. Windsor is hitting .315 while averaging 6.0 runs.
“There are some things we need to do better — we need to swing the bats a little better,” Deal said. “But the thing that is happening right now is that we have people all over the lineup who are contributing, different guys in each game, and that’s been nice. Hopefully we can keep that up.”
Windsor has reached the state quarterfinals for the fourth time in five years. The Wizards lost both games at state last year.
In single-elimination district play on Saturday, five of 4A’s top 10 teams — including three of the top eight — lost.
Ranked teams who are still playing are No. 2 Mountain View, No. 3 Pueblo West, Valor, No. 6 Longmont and Windsor.
“Districts are always strange because it’s lose one and you’re done,” Deal said. “It’s kind of funny because maybe only half the top seeds move on every year. It’s the pressure of that day that makes it fun and does funny things.
“But it (the state tournament) is wide open. We’re all about the same. It’s who plays the best on each day, who pitches best, throws the most strikes.”
That will be big for Windsor.
Next up: Windsor vs. Valor Christian, 12:30 p.m. Friday, All-Star Park, Lakewood.
Twitter updates: @RobWhite_CO