Mountain Range took the field at All-City Stadium and posted victories in two must win Class 5A state baseball tournament games on May 22 to remain in contention for a championship. The tournament …
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Mountain Range took the field at All-City Stadium and posted victories in two must win Class 5A state baseball tournament games on May 22 to remain in contention for a championship.
The tournament uses a double-elimination bracket. The Mustangs lost in the first round of the playoffs on May 21 to Heritage, one of two remaining undefeated teams. Another loss would have ended the season for Mountain Range.
The Mustangs rallied May 22, blanking Rock Canyon 4-0 and took the field again a couple hours later and edged Cherokee Trail, 6-4.
The twin wins gave Mountain Range a short break as they were scheduled take the field again at noon May 26 to play Arapahoe, the loser of the May 22 winner’s bracket game between Heritage and Arapahoe.
Mustangs Coach D. J. Yeager said it feels great to advance this far in the state playoffs and this is the farthest a Mustang team has gone in the state playoff in school history. He said last year the team had a great year, hosted a regional tournament but didn’t advance to state.
“We are a group of guys who are scrappy and go after it,” Mustangs Coach D.J. Yeager said. “We don’t always have the most talent out there but we have a group of guys who believe in each other, work for each other and love what they are doing.”
He said the team strength is this is a group of guys who never say die. He said this is a team that always goes out, competes hard and really gets after it in every game.
The coach noted that a big plus for the Mustangs is they have five players who can take the mound at times like the tournament when the team plays two games in a day
“All five guys can pitch and pitch well,” he said. “They each have command of several pitches and they hit the strike zone well.”
The Mustangs got off to a good start in the first of the two May 22 games against Rock Canyon by scoring a run in the first inning.
Mountain Range padded the one-run lead as they scored three runs in the top half of the top of the fifth inning. The big blow came with two outs when Angelo Domenico came to bat with two runners on base. He blasted a pitch to deep left center field, sending his two teammates across the plate. Rocky Mountain mounted a threat in the fourth inning with runners on second and third with two outs. But Mustang pitcher Mike Polson struck out the next batter to end the inning.
In the second game of the day against Cherokee Trail the Cougars went ahead 2-0 but Mountain Range edged ahead in the top of the fourth inning with three runs.
Cherokee Trail tied the score in the bottom of the half of the fourth. The score remained tied until the top of the sixth inning when the Mustangs scored two runs to take a 5-3 lead and Mountain Range went on to win the game 6-4 as both teams scored a run in the seventh.
Jacob Simmons had a pair of doubles for Mountain Range as he drove in three runs. Teammate Justin Hoffman also drove in a run for the Mustangs.
Brandon Rojas and Matt Brocklander split the mound duties. Rojas pitched 3.1 innings, gave up one earned run and struck out two. Brocklander pitched 3.2 innings gave up 3 earned runs and struck out one.
Senior Mike Polson plays second base and pitches. He has a .361 batting average in 24 games and he has made 11 trips to the mound and has a 2-0 record.
Polson pitched for the Mustangs in the game against Rock Canyon, went the distance and only gave up four hits. He also hit a double but was stranded on second.
“I just wanted to go out today, pitch well and give our team to win so we could move ahead in the tournament,” he said. “I did get a little tired late in the game and they were putting up great at bats. So, I just pounded the zone. I don’t throw the hardest of some pitcher but I do have a good changeup. Today I was able to use my changeup effectively. I have pitched complete games before but this is the first complete game shutout I have pitched this season.”
Polson also plays second base and he said it would be a hard choice to decide whether he likes playing second or pitching best.
“I really enjoy playing baseball and I also play basketball,” he said. “I play point guard in basketball and will go to Metropolitan State University of Denver on a scholarship to play basketball for the Roadrunners. While at Metro I plan to major in sports journalism.”
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