Area district playoff capsules
All games Saturday
Where: Mountain Vista
When: The Cougars (13-6) meet district host Mountain Vista (14-5) at 12:30 p.m., with the winner meeting either Fruita Monument (13-6) or Ralston Valley (11-8).
The drought is over: Coronado is making its first postseason appearance in three years and did some damage, upsetting district host Montrose before being eliminated by Palmer Ridge. Under first-year coach Trevor Stewart, the Cougars are enjoying their first winning season since 2013.
Senior leadership: Four-year varsity players Alex Bumpus (.500, five home runs, 25 RBIs and 17 stolen bases), Tanner Mayberry (.482, one home run, 26 RBIs) and Joey Callan (.441, 16 stolen bases) have led the way this season.
When: The Eagles (13-6) play Brighton (16-3) at 12:30 p.m. The winner meets the survivor between top-ranked and host Legacy (14-5) and Mullen (10-9).
Flying not as high: One year after earning 5A's top overall seed but falling to Rocky Mountain in the district final, Pine Creek finished the 2017 regular season No. 24 in the RPI and hit the road for districts for the first time in eight years. All four of Pine Creek's state-bound teams under coach Glenn Millhauser clinched at home.
Double threats: Senior Toby Scoles is batting .569 with 24 RBIs and also is 6-0 with a miniscule 0.19 ERA. During the regular season, he allowed only one earned run in 36 innings and struck out 50 batters. Jay Onken is 5-1 with a 3.50 ERA and also has a .431 average with three home runs and 24 RBIs.
Where: Air Academy
When: The Kadets (15-4) play Rifle (11-8) at 10 a.m. The winner awaits the 12:30 p.m. matchup between Cheyenne Mountain (14-5) and Pueblo County (11-8).
Back again: Air Academy earned the right to host the district playoff for the first time since 2013. The Kadets, however, didn't advance to state that year, falling to Canon City in the final after beating Saturday's opponent, Rifle, in the opener. Last year, the Kadets returned the favor, defeating district host Canon City in the district final to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 2012.
Pitching prowess: The Kadets' pitching has been lights out, allowing a mere 53 runs all season - an average of not quite three a game. Since Air Academy's 11-8 loss to Palmer Ridge on April 20, the Kadets yielded only eight runs during a season-ending six-game winning streak. Senior James Verlinde (4-3, 2.46) and junior Micah Bregard (4-1, 1.51) had 89 strikeouts between them in 74 combined innings.
Where: Canon City
When: The Tigers (15-4) meet Golden (10-9) at 10 a.m. Green Mountain (15-3) and Longmont (10-8) meet in the other semifinal.
Repeat honor: For the second straight year, Canon City earned a home berth in the district playoffs. Last year, the Tigers couldn't take advantage of home-field advantage when they lost to Air Academy with a state berth on the line. Canon City last reached the state tournament in 2013.
Youth movement: On a team that's batting .420, the Tigers have plenty of guys who can rake. The biggest threat, however, has come from sophomore Lincoln Andrews, who finished the regular season batting .500 (23 of 46) with a team-best three home runs and 28 RBIs.
Where: Air Academy
When: The Indians (14-5) meet Pueblo County (11-8) at 12:30 p.m., following the opener between host and league-rival Air Academy (15-4) and Rifle (11-8).
They're back: Cheyenne Mountain returns to the district round of the playoffs for the first time since 2013. The year before, the Indians knocked Air Academy into the consolation bracket at the state tournament, but the Kadets later ended Cheyenne Mountain's season later in the tournament.
Leaving a lasting impression: Indians seniors Ryan Schneider and Christian Buckler both are racking up big numbers in their final prep seasons. Schneider is batting .436 with one home run, 28 RBIs and 25 runs scored, while Buckler has a .421 average with one homer, 11 RBIs, 28 runs and 17 stolen bases.
Where: Denver North
When: The Falcons (13-6) meet Thompson Valley (13-6) at 10 a.m., followed by host Denver North (19-0) squaring off with Conifer (10-9).
Rare birds: Falcon, which went 5-14 a season ago, is appearing in its first district playoff since 2014 and is having its best season since going 14-6 in 2012. The Falcons are seeking their first berth in the state tournament since 1977.
Spreading it out: Falcon ended the regular season with five players with at least double-digits in RBIs, led by Phillip Loving (19), Gary Crist (18), Brevin Owen (15) and Spencer Scamman and Darrian Escobar-Winter (14 each). Six pitchers picked up at least one win during the season, with Crist pacing the staff with a 5-2 record and solid 3.00 ERA.
Where: Silver Creek
When: The Rangers (11-8) play district host Silver Creek (13-6) at 10 a.m. Northridge (15-4) and Holy Family (12-7) meet in the other district semifinal.
Consistent stretch: Lewis-Palmer is making its fourth straight district playoff appearance. That came after a stretch when the program didn't have that consistency.
The cook did it: Is there anything senior and four-sport letter-winner Billy Cook can't do? Just two months ago, he was helping the Rangers into the 4A state championship game in basketball, where he averaged 13 points per game and also has competed in football and track and field. This season on the diamond, Cook has launched six home runs and is batting .549 with 23 RBIs.
Where: Valor Christian
When: The Bears (13-6) play Ponderosa (11-8) at 12:30 p.m. following the first game between district host Valor Christian (15-4) and Eagle Valley (10-9).
Season-ending momentum: Palmer Ridge won five of seven to end the regular season, highlighted by a road win at league-champ Air Academy and a sweep of Cheyenne Mountain.
Two-man wrecking crew: A good chunk of the Bears' spark, both at the plate and on the mount, has come from senior Nathan Gishwiller and sophomore Charlie Deeds. Gishwiller is batting .492 with one home run and a team-high 22 RBIs to go along with a 2-1 pitching ledger, while Deeds hit .403 during the regular season with 15 RBIs and a 4-1 record on the hill with a 2.68 ERA.
Where: Peak to Peak
When: The Pirates (13-6) meet Brush (10-9) at 12:30 p.m. following the opener between host Peak to Peak (14-4) and Platte Valley (9-10) at 10 a.m.
Getting hot at the right time: St. Mary's ended the regular-season on a seven-game winning streak and got stellar pitching along the way, allowing four runs or fewer in each game. Now the Pirates face a Brush team in districts for the third time in the past five seasons. The Beetdiggers ended the Pirates' season in 2015 after St. Mary's earned a 4-1 win in the district semifinal in 2014.
All-around players: Pirates senior Jacob Brummel takes a .446 batting average into the weekend and can pitch, too, sporting a 4-2 record with a 2.23 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 44 innings. He's not alone. Junior Sascha Obermeyer is 5-1 with a 1.43 ERA to go along with a .321 clip at the plate, while sophomore Josh White is 2-2 on the hill and ended the regular season with a .474 average with 14 RBIs and a team-high nine doubles.
When: The Mustangs (12-6) meet Eaton (12-7) at 12:30 p.m. Site host Lutheran (18-1) plays Montezuma-Cortez (10-9) to start the day.
Hoping for another long run: Manitou Springs played deep into May last year, ultimately reaching the 3A state championship game but falling to Faith Christian. For that to happen this year, the Mustangs will first need to knock off an Eaton team they haven't beaten in three tries.
Whale of a season: Mustangs senior Sean Whalen struck out 43 batters in 41 1-3 innings and is batting .382 with one home run with a team-high 36 RBIs. Fellow senior Davyn Adamscheck had a solid regular season at the plate as well, registering a .491 average with 29 RBIs
2A District 8
Where: Spurgeon Field
When: Peyton (18-1) will meet Dolores Huerta Prep (13-7) at 10 a.m., followed by a matchup between ECA (15-4) and Calhan (11-6) at 12:30 p.m. The winners then will play for the district title.
Time to start a new streak: Peyton ripped off 18 straight wins before dropping its regular-season finale to Dayspring Christian on May 6. Prior to that, the Panthers were dominant against league foes, run-ruling Dolores Huerta, 17-0, and also rolling past ECA (21-6 and 18-8) and Calhan (15-0 and 10-5).
Impressive stats: Peyton batted .451 as a team during the regular season, highlighted by sophomores Josh Gonzales and Rodney Gregg, who are batting .594 and .557, respectively, with four home runs apiece. Panthers pitching also impressed, registering a team ERA of 2.51 with 158 strikeouts in 106 innings. ECA's Samuel Perkett ended the regular season with a .650 average (39 of 60), ranking second in all of 2A. Calhan sophomore Eddie Glaser led the Bulldogs with a .483 batting average and a 4-3 mark on the mound.