Bears, Titans on road for baseball postseason |

Bears, Titans on road for baseball postseason

Jon Mitchell
Rifle High School first baseman Dalton Bornholdt dives to make a stop on a ground ball hit during the Bears' game against Glenwood Springs on April 29. The Bears will open the Class 4A District 6 Tournament on Saturday in Durango against Ponderosa.
Darcy Copeland / DC Photo – |

Seedings and pairings for the Class 4A and 3A baseball state playoffs were announced on Wednesday morning, with Rifle and Coal Ridge each earning postseason spots.

Rifle (12-7 overall), the third-place finisher in the Class 4A Western Slope League, was given the No. 23 seed in the 32-team tournament. The Bears will have to travel for the 4A District 6 Tournament, but they’ll have the best overall record when they get there.

The Bears, who claimed the final automatic postseason berth given by the league thanks to its third-place finish, will play 10th-seeded Ponderosa (9-10) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The winner of that game moves on to play either Eagle Valley (10-8-1) or host Durango (11-8) at 3 p.m. Saturday for a berth in the eight-team state tournament. Durango and Eagle Valley play in Saturday’s early game.

Durango earned the No. 7 seed in the bracket, and the top eight get to serve as a first- and second-round host. Part of what determines a team’s seeding and playoff placement is its strength of schedule, and Durango plays in the hybrid Southwestern League with Class 5A schools like Grand Junction, Grand Junction Central and Fruita Monument. It also includes Montrose, which earned the top overall seed in the tournament bracket.

Eagle Valley earned a postseason berth via the wildcard point system, which also helped determine seeding for teams like Durango and Montrose. Twenty-six berths are determined by league finish, meaning the final six berths come from the point system.

The Devils were in third place in the WSL standings headed into the final weekend of the regular season. Rifle, however, earned the automatic berth with its convincing sweep of Battle Mountain in Edwards and Palisade’s convincing sweep of Eagle Valley in Gypsum this past Saturday.

Earning a home berth at the 4A level was WSL champion Delta.

Also earning a postseason berth was Coal Ridge (10-9), the fifth-place finisher in the Class 3A WSL. The Titans, under first-year coach Dan Larsen, are making their first postseason appearance since their inaugural baseball season in 2008.

Coal Ridge will have a much tougher draw in the first round, it appears. The 30th-seeded Titans will travel to third-seeded Faith Christian (16-3) in the 3A District 7 Tournament, with first pitch scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday. The winner moves on to play either No. 14 Bennett (12-7) or No. 19 Manitou Springs (10-8) at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Titans come into the game tied for second in Class 3A with Platte Canyon in stolen bases as a team, swiping 107. The top team in 3A is Sterling, which has swiped 114. Coal Ridge shortstop Jerome Pizzelli has 23 stolen bases this season, good for fourth in Class 3A and 13th statewide in all classifications.

Class 3A WSL champion Cedaredge (17-2) earned the tournament’s No. 6 seed and will host Clear Creek (10-8), Kent Denver (13-6) and Basalt (13-6).

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