Coal Ridge falls in first round of 3A baseball playoffs
ENGLEWOOD — Coal Ridge High School’s baseball team played close with Kent Denver until the third inning on Tuesday, when the Sun Devils blew the game open with a six-run inning on their way to a 14-2, five-inning victory in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs.
“It was like you could see a couple of leaks in the dam before it broke,” Coal Ridge baseball coach Dan Larsen said.
The victory moved Kent Denver into a second-round match-up against University. The loss for the Titans, the fourth-place finisher in the 3A Western Slope League, ended their season with a 9-11 overall record.
Nathan Nelson took the loss on the mound for Coal Ridge, going 2 2/3 innings before he was pulled by Larsen during the Sun Devils’ big third inning.
In the top of the fourth inning, Nelson scored on an RBI triple by Greyson Keener, who came home on an RBI groundout by Kevin Grivey. But in the bottom half of the inning, the Sun Devils scored seven more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to build a 12-run lead headed into the top of the fifth.
Coal Ridge finished the game with six errors, with five of them coming from Keener at third base. In all, 11 of the 14 runs Kent Denver scored — including a first-inning run — were unearned.
“That’s what I told the guys after the game,” Larsen said of Kent Denver’s final two innings at the plate. “If we make those plays, which are basically just routine plays, it goes from being a 14-2 game to a 4-2 game. That’s a big difference.”
The Titans, who lose two seniors to graduation, have nine players with starting experience returning next season to a team that made its second consecutive postseason appearance.
“The great thing is that I asked the guys who was interested in playing summer ball, and everyone raised their hands,” Larsen said. “That’s great they made that kind of commitment.”
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