Coal Ridge baseball gearing up to keep undefeated season alive in state playoffs
The No.4 Coal Ridge baseball team will look to keep their undefeated season alive on Friday, facing off against No.5 Montezuma-Cortez in the first round of the Colorado 3A state playoffs in Greeley.
Outscoring opponents by a margin of 313-59 leading up to Friday’s matchup, the Coal Ridge Titans have displayed nothing short of dominance throughout the year. Now, five games stand in between them and the school’s first-ever state championship.
Coal Ridge head coach Dan Larsen said, he along with the team knows where they stand coming into the tournament.
“We are really excited for the opportunity to compete this weekend and we are going to make sure we don’t get ahead of ourselves,” Larsen said. “We know what we have accomplished so far but we haven’t reached our end goal.”
Led by lone senior Brandon Short, who will continue his playing career at Otero Junior College in La Junta following graduation, Coal Ridge boasts a young roster, carrying nine under-classmen on the varsity team. Larsen said the youth on the team is not something he is worried about.
“These younger guys have proven they can play and have made some big contributions during the season,” Larsen said. “It’s not something I’m worried about because I know what they bring to the table.”
While the team’s focus lies on walking away with a pair of victories this weekend to advance to the final four, set to be played June 2-3, Short will forgo walking at Coal Ridge High School’s graduation on Saturday to help his team continue their historic season.
“It was definitely a tough decision but helping this team is what’s most important to me right now,” Short said. “I want to go out there and do everything I can to help us win a championship.”
In a double-elimination playoff format, Coal Ridge will face Montezuma-Cortez at 11:30 a.m. on Friday at University High School. The winner of the game will face off again Friday at 2 p.m. at University High School against the winner of No.1 Eaton vs. No.25 Peak to Peak.
Larsen said the team is continuing to focus on one game at a time.
“The mentality of this team has been who’s the next team that’s in our way of accomplishing what we want to accomplish,” Larsen said. “That was our mentality at the end of the season and during regionals and that will be our mentality in the state tournament.”
Fellow Western Slope League team Delta High School is also set to appear in the 3A state playoffs. The No. 7 Panthers will take on No. 2 University High School at 11:30 a.m. on Friday at Butch Butler Field.
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