Class 3A Coal Ridge baseball beats 4A Rifle 2-1 to stay undefeated
Thursday’s matchup between the No. 3-ranked Class 3A Coal Ridge (11-0) and 4A Rifle (6-5) baseball teams came down to the wire, but Coal Ridge’s impressive pitching from senior Brandon Short was enough to keep them undefeated on the season.
Outsourcing their opponents 140-30 in 10 games this season, the Titans were given their toughest test Thursday, beating the Bears by a score of 2-1.
Led by junior Alexis Serna, who scored both runs on the day, it was Short’s impressive performance, including 17 strikeouts, that secured the victory.
A 1-1 game heading into the fifth inning thanks to a home run from Rifle’s Connor Abbot, Serna would quickly find home plate in the top of the fifth thanks to a single from sophomore Ben Simons that would send Serna home from second base.
One of only four upperclassmen on a young Coal Ridge team, Serna recognizes the talent Coal Ridge will have for years to come.
“The underclassmen have been phenomenal for us this year,” Serna said. “Coming into the season, you could tell that we were gonna have a lot of young guys who were gonna do some really big things for us.”
Serna isn’t the only one who has noticed the contributions from the underclassmen. Head Coach Dan Larsen recognized the special group of freshmen that he was inheriting early in the season.
“I didn’t know this class of incoming freshmen was such a stellar class and so once I saw them for the first time I knew this team had the opportunity to do something special,” Larsen said.
A special group that has beaten six of its 11 opponents by 10 or more runs, Larsen said the expectations for the rest of the season are sky high.
“We know what we’re capable of at this point,” Larsen said. “We have the same end goal as every other team in the state and I think everyone on this team knows we can accomplish that goal.”
With 12 games left in the regular season, Serna knows that Coal Ridge’s undefeated season is no fluke.
“We’ve worked hard to get to where we are,” Serna said. “This team takes practice seriously and we play every game like it’s going to be our last.”
Preparing for a double-header at home against North Folk High School on Saturday, Coal Ridge will look to keep their undefeated season alive.
Rifle hopes to bounce back when they play Palisade High School at home on April 25.
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