For most seniors, the Southern Colorado All-Star baseball game is their last chance to play in a high school uniform.
But for the three Cheyenne Mountain seniors on the Team 4A roster, Monday’s 57th-annual game was just a warmup for tomorrow’s state semifinal clash.
The Senior All-Star game featured a 9-8 win by the 4A team, thwarting a 3A/5A comeback in the bottom of the ninth inning.
In the junior game played earlier Monday, Team Red claimed a 13-6 Victory over Team Blue.
After a series of postponements due to weather, the 4A state championship was pushed back four days from its original date, forcing Cheyenne Mountain coach and Southern Colorado All-Star game organizer Mark Swope to make a tough decision regarding his seniors.
“It can be a distraction, but I wasn’t going to let these kids miss this,” Swope said. “I’ve been running this event for the last 18 years and it’s important and a tradition that we want to keep going, so I wanted my kids to experience it.”
Unfortunately Swope had to limit his seniors, Jason Randall, Jack Denker and Chase McCleary, to just one at bat and two innings to avoid any potential injury before Tuesday’s semifinal game against Pueblo West.
“That was hard for them because they wanted in, but they will never forget this so I thought it was important for them to participate,” Swope said.
Cheyenne Mountain’s Aaron Berkhoff played in the junior all-star game directly before the senior game, while other members of the Indian baseball team have already competed in summer tournaments.
“Today they were surrounded by a lot of guys who have been done for three weeks now, so it’s a bit of a distraction,” Swope said.
"It’s hard I’ve never been in a situation that they state championship games have been pushed back so late that it has affected our summer season, so there’s a lot of things going on right now but we are certainly excited to still be playing.”
Cheyenne Mountain will face No. 7 Pueblo West on Tuesday at noon. If the No. 4 Indians win, they move on to a championship play-in game on Wednesday against either No. 1 Windsor or No. 3 Valor Christian. The winner of the play-in will face Pueblo West - which has not lost in the double-elimination bracket yet - in the state championship game on Wednesday afternoon.
Falcon’s Kody Sellers plays 4A hero in Senior All-Star game
The Class 4A senior all-star team couldn’t shake the Class 3A/5A seniors for very long in the early innings of the 57th-annual Southern Colorado Senior All-Star game. That was, until Falcon’s Kody Sellers stepped up to the plate in the fifth inning.
With the bases loaded, Sellers smacked a three-run double to center to give 4A an 8-5 lead. After the 4A defense went to work keeping 3A/5A off the board, Sellers knocked in another run for the eventual game-winning RBI in the top of the seventh.
Team 3A/5A made a run in the bottom of the eighth inning, scoring three runs thanks in part to an RBI double by Pine Creek’s Zac Heisler and an impressive evasive maneuver at the plate by Fountain-Fort Carson’s Jarren Sly to avoid the tag at home.
Team 3A/5A put two runners on in the bottom of the ninth inning, but a groundout ended the game with Sellers’ seventh-inning RBI holding strong for the 9-8 win.
CLASS 4A SENIOR ROSTER
Cheyenne Mountain: Jason Randall, Jack Denker, Chase McCleary; Canon City: Zac Hanenberg, Triston Biecker; Discovery Canyon: Brad King, Mark Reyes, Caleb Grotelueschen; Elizabeth: Chase Bauer, Colin Steinke; Falcon: Kody Sellers, Darrian Escobar-Winter, Connor Kessler; Lewis-Palmer: Brady Choban; Mesa Ridge: Daevion Kinnard, Bobby Bustillos; Palmer Ridge: Jake Wade, Gabe Halaby, Ben Kleinsmith, JC Watne; Widefield: Reece Lieby, Isaiah Grima, Brennan Heitz.
CLASS 3A/5A SENIOR ROSTER
St. Mary’s: Matt Haines; Pine Creek: Justin Olson, Zac Heisler, Cade Kleckner, Jeremy Onken; Palmer: Justin Briggs, Mason Collier; Fountain-Fort Carson: Rayn Stratton, Jarren Sly; Doherty: Randy Good; Rampart: Austin Brady, Brio Rookey, Caden Jones; Coronado: Issiah Sisneros; Vista Ridge: Gabe Schafer, Sam Schafer.