Presenting the 2017 All-Colorado baseball team, as selected by The Denver Post staff:
2017 All-Colorado Baseball team
OF Toby Scoles, Sr., Pine Creek
(.541/24 RBI/8 2B) The Colorado School of Mines commit was a jack-of-all-trades for an Eagles team laden with college talent, as Scoles’ outfield range and pitching arm (6-1 with a 1.02 ERA) made him a dynamic force.
OF Tanner O’Tremba, Jr., Cherry Creek
(.515/31 RBI/10 HR) The man-child provided the pop in the heart of the Cherry Creek lineup as the Bruins finished third at the state tournament and O’Tremba continues to grow into the star fans have been hyping him to be since his freshman year.
OF JD Wadleigh, Jr., Green Mountain
(.508/24 RBI/6 HR) As one of the central cogs in the Rams’ lineup, Wadleigh did more than hit, stealing nine bases and providing a steady presence in center field as the Rams turned in a 15-4 campaign and battled through the competitive 4A Jeffco League.
INF Liam Eddy, Sr., Brighton
(.657/43 RBI/11 HR) The Wichita State pledge’s bat and arm helped the Bulldogs to one of the best seasons in recent memory. Eddy led Colorado in homers and was 6-1 with a 2.54 ERA on the mound to pace Brighton into the district championship game.
INF John Sorensen, Sr., Rocky Mountain
(.458/38 RBI/6 HR) Sorensen threw a complete game to earn the win in the Class 5A state championship, and the Kansas State commit made a habit of flashing leather in the infield, too, in leading the Lobos back to the top.
Andy Cross, The Denver PostDenver North High School baseball player Judah Wilbur June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostDenver North High School baseball player Judah Wilbur June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostRegis Jesuit baseball player Caleb Sloan June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostRegis Jesuit baseball player Caleb Sloan June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostRegis Jesuit baseball player Caleb Sloan June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostRegis Jesuit baseball player Caleb Sloan June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostCherry Creek Bruins baseball player Tanner O'Tremba June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostCherry Creek Bruins baseball player Tanner O'Tremba June 07, 2017 in Denver. Tanner O'TrembaAndy Cross, The Denver PostCherry Creek Bruins baseball player Tanner O'Tremba June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostCherry Creek Bruins baseball player Tanner O'Tremba June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostPine Creek High School baseball player Toby Scoles June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostPine Creek High School baseball player Toby Scoles June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostPine Creek High School baseball player Toby Scoles June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostRock Canyon High School baseball player Matt Given June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostRock Canyon High School baseball player Matt Given June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostRock Canyon High School baseball player Matt Given June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostGreen Mountain High School baseball player JD Wadleigh June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostGreen Mountain High School baseball player JD Wadleigh June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostGreen Mountain High School baseball player JD Wadleigh June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostValor Christian High School baseball player Luke Ziegler June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostValor Christian High School baseball player Luke Ziegler June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostBroomfield High School baseball player James Notary June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostBroomfield High School baseball player James Notary June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostBroomfield High School baseball player James Notary June 07, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostThomas Jefferson High School baseball coach Graham Baughn June 08, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostThomas Jefferson High School baseball coach Graham Baughn June 08, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostThomas Jefferson High School baseball coach Graham Baughn June 08, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostThomas Jefferson High School baseball coach Graham Baughn June 08, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostRocky Mountain High School baseball player Jadon Uhrich June 08, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostRocky Mountain High School baseball player Jadon Uhrich June 08, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostRocky Mountain High School baseball player Jadon Uhrich June 08, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostLegend High School baseball player Jordan Stubbings June 08, 2017 in Denver.Andy Cross, The Denver PostLegend High School baseball player Jordan Stubbings June 08, 2017 in Denver. [...]
After Regis Jesuit graduate David Peterson was selected with the 20th overall pick in Monday’s first round of the MLB Draft, three more pitchers from Colorado heard their names called Tuesday.
Legacy alum Lucas Gilbreath, Columbine alum Blake Weiman and Sand Creek alum Josh Keaton were all picked. The Rockies took Gilbreath in the seventh round with the 206th selection, the Pirates took Weiman in the eighth round with the 238th selection and the Orioles took Keaton in the tenth round with the 308th selection.
Gilbreath, a southpaw who was previously drafted in the 36th round by the Rockies out of high school in 2014, posted a 5-2 record with a 2.66 ERA for the University of Minnesota this year en route to earning 1st-Team All-Big Ten honors.
Weiman, also a lefty and 2014 graduate, was 5-1 with a 2.80 ERA for the University of Kansas this past season, striking out 55 batters to just five walks.
The right-hander Keaton finished his senior year at Adams State with 84 strikeouts, second-best in the RMAC. The 2012 Sand Creek graduate is the first Scorpions player to ever be drafted, per CHSAANow.com’s draft database.
Gilbreath is the eighth Legacy player drafted and Weiman is the 16th Columbine player drafted.
The draft resumes Wednesday at 10 a.m. with rounds 11-40. Several more Colorado players have a good chance to be picked, including Regis Jesuit pitcher Caleb Sloan (Texas Christian University commit), Heritage catcher Casey Opitz (Arkansas) and Rock Canyon pitcher/shortstop Matt Givin (Xavier). [...]
Denver Post preps editor Kyle Newman caught up with Regis Jesuit star Fran Belibi to discuss her experience of winning the gold medal with the under-16 USA Basketball national team at the FIBA Women’s Americas Championship in Argentina this past weekend.
Belibi, who rose to national prominence after becoming the first girl to dunk in a Colorado high school game this past winter, averaged 4.8 points and 5.8 rebounds in the tournament. The U.S. defeated Canada, 91-46, in Sunday’s title game.
Q: What was your first experience with USA Basketball like?
A: There were a lot of great people on my team, and just a lot of great players in the tournament overall. To be part of this epic team with so many players striving for one goal — and so many star players being so unselfish so we could win gold — was an awesome opportunity.
Q: Did this team open your eyes to where you stand in terms of national talent?
A: Definitely — these are some of the top high school players in the country, and to be on the court with them proved I have a lot of work to do to get to where I ultimately want to be at. Playing with these girls makes me want to push myself even harder.
Q: What are some aspects of your game that this tournament proved you need to work on?
A: My shooting and my ballhandling definitely need more improvement, and I think I need to be a more versatile player. Those are all things I can definitely work on, and playing against elite competition like I did in Argentina will only keep making me better.
Q: What are your basketball plans for the rest of the summer?
A: The plan is to just keep balling out. I’m going to play in a bunch of tournaments with the Mile High Magic this summer, and I’m just going to try and keep getting better and making sure I stay focused on putting team goals first.
Q: And are you feeling good about Regis Jesuit’s chances at making a push for the Class 5A title next season after a Final Four run last season?
A: Absolutely. We’re already trying to get that team chemistry going on and off the court, so that when the winter comes, we’ll be prepared to win state. [...]
From 1964 through 1980, liquor store owner Bauldie Moschetti ran one of the nation’s premier collegiate summer baseball programs, the Boulder Collegians. The team won four National Baseball Congress championships and attracted top-tier college players from all over the country, including future pros such as Joe Carter, Joe Madden and Tony Gwynn.
That time frame was the heyday of the state’s college summer baseball scene, with other long-defunct storied teams such as the Englewood Redbirds, Colorado Rangers and Pueblo Steelers making Colorado a breeding ground for future pro prospects for three months of the year.
Jump ahead to 2017, and while Colorado doesn’t boast nationally renowned college summer baseball as it once did — the Cape Cod League and the Alaska League lay primary claim to that — the foundation is in place for the state to return to that level.
“There’s a history of quality summer baseball here, and I think you’re starting to see that come back,” said Al Blesar, a longtime coach and professional scout who is the co-director of player personnel for the Mile High Collegiate Baseball League. “More local guys and nonlocal guys are seeing the benefits of playing in leagues here before they head back to school in the fall.”
Colorado has three summer leagues: the Rocky Mountain Baseball League (founded in 1999), the Mile High Collegiate Baseball League (2013) and the Mountain West Summer College Baseball League (2015). All three are nonprofits, with all player fees going toward operating costs. The RMBL and MHCBL have 10 teams apiece and the MWSCBL eight, and both the RMBL (two bids) and the MHCBL (one bid) are members of the NBC.
At their core, the leagues provide players with a packed summer schedule — usually 40 to 60 games — that allows players ranging from Division I to junior college to focus on development.
“Like I always tell my players, you’re going to come in and get your at-bats and get your innings on the mound,” said Steve Oram, vice president of the RMBL and a longtime summer coach. “I think a lot of the younger guys in the league, like players who just graduated from high school or redshirted in college, get an opportunity to get better over the summer so that they can make their college team or find their way on the field.”
Players such as Evan Walter are proof of the doors Colorado summer baseball can open.
Walter started at first base the past two seasons for the Colorado Cyclones, a team that earned NBC berths with consecutive MHCBL titles. The 2013 Thomas Jefferson High School graduate attends the University of Science and Arts Oklahoma, which has a top-tier NAIA program. He found a home there, thanks to the MHCBL.
“The main thing the league’s helped me with is that it’s given me opportunities,” Walter said. “Two years ago I got picked up by a junior college after the summer because I wasn’t playing at my previous school, and then last summer, I earned the opportunity to come aboard at my current four-year school.”
And while the RMBL and the MHCBL are dominated by Coloradans, the Western Slope-based MWSCBL is about 80 percent non-Coloradans — including players from nearly all 50 states as well as Mexico, Canada and Australia. The league capitalizes on Colorado’s mild summers, altitude-assisted hitting and growing status as a world-class destination.
“One of the biggest draws of our league is where it’s at,” said MWSCBL commissioner Joe LeFebre, whose league has teams in Eagle Valley, Carbondale and Steamboat Springs, among other sites. “I don’t think there’s a college summer baseball team at 9,000 feet elevation like the Summit Extreme Black Diamonds are, and I don’t think there ever has been.”
All three Colorado summer leagues have expanded since their debut, and now the RMBL is looking to widen its reach beyond the state’s borders.
“With so many summer leagues sprouting up all over the country and increasing numbers of guys who are willing to travel to play summer ball, now we’re trying to market ourselves as more of a regional league,” Oram said. “We’ve got a team in Laramie right now and we’ve got one up in Sterling, and we’re working with guys up in Casper and Cheyenne, so next year we hope to expand the league up there as well.”
But despite the proliferation of summer collegiate baseball teams in Colorado over the past two decades, the state — specifically the Denver area, where RMBL and MHCBL teams are mostly located — faces a distance disadvantage compared with other leagues within the U.S. such as the Jayhawk League (Kansas) and the Northwoods League (the Midwest) that draw top college fr [...]
Denver Post preps editor Kyle Newman caught up with former Silver Creek quarterback Austin Apocada to discuss his college career, his CFL opportunity with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and more.
Q: Heading into the Blue Bombers’ first preseason game this Saturday against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, what does this opportunity mean to you?
A: It’s everything, because not a lot of people get the chance to play professional football, and that’s my job right now. I’m going to put everything I have into this because the game doesn’t last forever, and that’s one thing I’ve learned just in my short time up here. This game can end for you at anytime and any moment through cuts, or injuries, or whatever that may be. So I’m just focused on taking things one minute at a time and enjoying every moment I come across.
Q: What did you learn from your college journey that started at Washington State, had a pit stop at Mesa Community College (Ariz.) and then finished at the University of New Mexico?
A: It was an interesting college career for me, and I’d be lying to you if I said that’s what I thought it would look like. But the ups and downs of that career have prepared me for where I’m at now. Going to Washington State and playing in a Power 5 conference was awesome, but then leaving there and not being certain of where I was going to be was a bit of adversity.
I went to the JuCo for only one semester just so I could try to get back to the Division I ranks, and then I went to New Mexico where I wasn’t the perfect fit for their triple-option scheme. But the whole journey itself has taught me a lot, because now I don’t worry about the outcome so much, but more about the process.
Q: How hard was it to make those offensive changes throughout college?
A: At Washington State, we threw it 60, 70 times a game, and then I went to New Mexico and we threw it maybe 10 times a game. I obviously would have liked to throw it way more and play in an offense that was more fitting to my style, but what that did was make me understand the game better as a whole.
I learned different coverages and different personnel from being in so many different offenses under so many different coaches, and I learned that that I could run the ball better than expected because it was something I had never really done before. And right now in Winnipeg, the offense is a combination of everything I’ve played — there’s some air-raid concepts and some zone-read concepts that I learned while running the triple-option.
Q: How did playing for your dad, Mike Apodaca — who’s still the head football and baseball coach at Silver Creek — shape you as a quarterback?
A: That shaped me a lot, because I always had a high standard for myself, and my dad always had a high standard for me. Not so much performance wise, but in the sense of how to act on the field and how to act off the field. As the coach’s son, you’re bound to be in the spotlight a little bit more, so I was always trying to work my hardest to set the example for other guys and to gain people’s respect to show them I was more than just the coach’s son, and that I deserved to be on the field. That sort of mentality has followed me throughout my career, including up here to Canada. [...]
Paul Aiken / Daily CameraBroomfield senior Linnie Malkin, posing here for the 2016 BoCoPreps.com softball player of the year honor, was named the Gatorade Softball Player of the Year.
Broomfield senior Linnie Malkin was named the 2016-17 Gatorade Colorado Softball Player of the Year on Monday morning, capping a standout prep career that has the third baseman headed to play at the University of Arkansas.
Malkin hit .603 with 35 RBI, 11 doubles and 11 homers this past fall, leading the Eagles to the Front Range League championship and Class 5A state runner-up accolades. Broomfield fell 1-0 to Cherokee Trail in extra innings of the title game.
Also a 2016 Denver Post 1st Team All-State selection and a four-time All-Front Range League honoree, Malkin is the first Eagles softball player to receive the award. [...]
Pablo Severtson grew up around baseball because his father, Tom Severtson, was a long-time coach, and former pro scout. His dad won state and national club championships over the course of his decades-long career.
Not much has changed since Pablo’s youth, as the 32-year-old Heritage baseball assistant coach still breathes hardball. Pablo and Tom were both on the Eagles’ coaching staff this season as Heritage continued to assert itself as a Class 5A contender.
Yet it’s on a smaller diamond — and with a different gender — that the 32-year-old Pablo has established himself as one of the best coaches in the state.
Pablo is the head coach of one of Colorado’s top club softball teams, Colorado Styxx Gold 18U, in addition to his duties as the head softball coach at Heritage. His transition from a small white ball to a bigger yellow sphere is one the 2003 Thomas Jefferson graduate made easily, like his dad did before him.
“My dad played on the national fastpitch circuit after playing college baseball at UNC and was eventually inducted into the Colorado Softball Hall of Fame, so he knew the game and was able to help me with that transition,” Pablo Severtson said. “When I started coaching softball, I coached it just like I did with baseball, but there are those little details in the differences between the games that he really turned me on to.”
With the focus on those details — and an ethos of, “If your best player is your hardest worker, you’ve got a chance to be a great team” — Pablo guided the Styxx to a 98-11 record last season and a 13th-place finish at Triple Crown Nationals in New York.
His club is looking equally potent this year, his third as its coach, with the majority of the roster having returned.
“We’re trying to duplicate that kind of year, so we’ll see what we’ve got,” Pablo said. “It’s going to take a lot of clutch play from our girls against elite competition at nationals in Austin in July, but I know they’re ready for it.”
The Styxx’s staff of Emily Bell (Cherokee Trail graduate, Simpson College commit), Taylor Puga (Pueblo West senior) and Rio Sanchez (Erie graduate, Central Arkansas) is rivaled by few in the state.
And their lineup is stacked, too, with clutch players such as outfielder Chloe Knapp (who had the game-winning home run in extra innings of the Class 5A title game for Cherokee Trail last fall) and shortstop Lauren Foster (a key component in Valor Christian’s Class 4A championship three-peat) complimenting Eaglecrest senior first baseman Kailey Wilson, who is perhaps the best power hitter in the state.
The Styxx will continue to compete alongside, and often against, an array of other tough Colorado 18U teams throughout tournaments leading into Triple Crown Nationals.
Triple Crown Stars Gold — which finished ninth at nationals last year — headlines that list, with other teams such as Colorado Stars Burns Gold and Next Level Gold also capable of making noise in prime-time tournaments.
As for Pablo, he remains focused on getting his players college-ready — and, of course, continuing to progress toward his own coaching dream.
“Between Heritage baseball and softball and everything I do with the Styxx, I pretty much live at the diamond,” Pablo said. “Everyone knows my goal is to be a head baseball coach in high school, and then the ultimate goal is to coach in college somewhere. If my players keep buying into me, I’ll get there sooner than later.” [...]
With the high school season over, Colorado’s top prep talent moves on to competing for local club teams across the area. Denver Post preps editor Kyle Newman breaks down five teams to watch as the summer season heats up:
Slammers Martin 17U
Perhaps the most stacked club team in the state, Slammers Martin is loaded in every phase. They have aces such as Valor Christian’s Luke Ziegler, Legend’s Jack Baird and Brody McCord and Broomfield’s Ben Peterson. They have athletic outfield talent in Denver North’s Harris Williams and Pine Creek’s Jay Onken. And they have valid power with Valor Christian catcher Noah Kuzma, Pine Creek first baseman Justin Olson and more.
Lightning Gold 18U
Coach Dave Tucker’s flagship team has many pieces back from last season and figures to challenge in every tournament they enter. On the mound, Chaparral’s Zach Berg and Highlands Ranch’s Josh Thompson will figure prominently, as will a trio of Falcons in the lineup in catcher Brett Newman, third baseman Zac Dammel and shortstop Morgan McIntosh. Plus, Regis Jesuit first baseman Michael Baer, Rock Canyon shortstop Jake Hammons, ThunderRidge outfielder Jason Hall and Lakewood shortstop Simon Baumgardt give the lineup depth.
Cherry Creek 18s
The Cherry Creek 18s Bruin-heavy roster is also sprinkled with a bunch of other big-time players from the south metro area. Infielders Zach Paschke and Cole Blatchford and pitchers Jalen Saiz and Jack Liffrig all represent Mountain Vista, while Heritage ace Riley Egloff complements Cherry Creek stars in outfielder Tanner O’Tremba, infielder Cody Schultz, catcher Andrew Chavez and pitcher Quentin Parr.
Slammers Bauer 18U
Slammers Bauer boasts elite talent picked from several top Class 5A leagues around the state, as highlighted by Continental League standouts in Regis Jesuit ace Caleb Sloan and Legend home run hitting infielder Jordan Stubbings. Plus, Jeffco League gems in Chatfield shortstop Jack Winkler, Bear Creek infielder Jack Radford and Dakota Ridge ace Carter Akerfelds complement other key guys such as Pine Creek outfielder Toby Scoles and Grandview catcher Tyson Hays.
Trombly Baseball Quintana 18U
A combined club effort by the Mountain Vista, Rock Canyon and Highlands Ranch baseball programs led to the formation of Trombly Baseball Colorado. Mountain Vista coach Ron Quintana coaches the 18U team, while Rock Canyon coach Tyler Munro and Highlands Ranch coach Joe Gleason coach the lower levels. As such, much of the those programs’ talent resides on the 18U roster, including Rock Canyon catcher Logan O’Neill, Mountain Vista infielder Drew Stahl, Highlands Ranch catcher Jordan Medina and Highlands Ranch infielder Zach Medina. [...]
The 2017 Colorado High School All-Star/Futures Game took place at Coors Field on Thursday, June 1, where 64 of the top prep baseball players in the state competed in the exhibition game.
The game was called in the bottom of the seventh due to rain, with the Purple team (comprised of underclassmen) and the Black team (comprised of seniors) tying 0-0.
First baseman Joel Pierce’s one-out single drove in the tie-breaking run in the top of the seventh, and Valor Christian scored twice more in the inning to take an 8-5 victory over Thompson Valley in the state Class 4A baseball tournament at Metro State on Saturday morning.
The win moved Valor Christian into the championship game against Evergreen. That was scheduled for a 12:30 p.m. start, but after two lightning delays and then heavy rain, the decision was made to postpone the game until noon Sunday, still at Metro State.
Both teams have lost once in the double-elimination tournament.
To get to the championship game, the Eagles had to stage a comeback after falling behind early.
Thompson Valley scored three times in the first, with catcher Mike Berg driving in two with a double, to take the early lead.
Valor Christian got within 3-2 in the third on catcher Noah Kuzma’s two-run homer.
Then with the game knotted at 5-5, Valor Christian shortstop Austin Howell singled and Kuzma walked to open the seventh. After Luke Ziegler fouled out while attempting to sacrifice the runners over, Pierce’s single scored Howell to make it 6-5. After Calvin Schonebaum walked, and Brady Buehler struck out, Jonathan Boulaphinh’s double drove in the two insurance runs.
The championship game was on schedule to start on time when the first lightning delay was imposed, and it was downhill from there. Although the all-turf field at Metro State can absorb considerable rainfall, the lightning, heavy rainfall and miserable conditions led to the postponement, made virtually jointly between CHSAA officials at both the 5A tournament site at All-City Field and at the 4A site at Metro State.
They’ll try again Sunday.
Rocky Mountain rules again.
The Lobos, playing in their eighth title game since 2007, defeated Broomfield 9-5 on Sunday behind senior John Sorensen’s complete-game pitching at All-City Field. It’s Rocky Mountain’s sixth state championship and more affirmation of the Lobos’ current status as the best Class 5A baseball program in Colorado.
“This win says a lot about our coaches more than anything, because we come back every year with new players and they’re always pushing us to be our best,” Sorensen said. “And this year, we had a chip on our shoulder and we wanted it bad after coming up one game short of the title last year.”
Rocky Mountain (20-6) scored twice in rainy conditions in the top of the first inning Saturday afternoon before play was suspended to Sunday. Spencer Gendreau’s RBI double in the first at-bat of resumed action gave the Lobos a 3-0 advantage.
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Last year, Rocky Mountain built a 3-0 lead over Cherokee Trail in the title game but allowed eight consecutive runs en route to a 9-4 loss.
There was no letting off the gas Sunday. Sorensen was mostly dominant while Rocky Mountain, sporting the cardinal-red uniforms the team has worn in every championship win, never let Broomfield get into contention.
“We knew Broomfield was going to bring it, and getting that first-inning lead helped settle us into the game,” said Rocky Mountain coach Scott Bullock. “But we knew we couldn’t just sit on those runs.”
Broomfield (20-7) played without coach Garren Estes, who was in San Diego for his son’s college graduation. Erik Lockwood, an assistant, filled his role as the Eagles received solid pitching from senior Blake Rohm, who turned in five innings of scoreless ball after the first.
After Rohm’s exit, RBIs from seniors Jadon Uhrich, Trey Wagner, Trenton Medrano and Kalen Hammer broke the game open as the Lobos scored six runs in the top of the seventh to cement their win.
“This 10-man senior group has been special from the beginning, because they’re just a bunch of tough, blue-collar kids,” Bullock said. “So to watch them grow into young men and to have so many of them play a crucial role in finishing with a state championship just makes my heart proud.”
The Eagles, who have five Class 4A titles in baseball to their credit, made their first 5A championship game appearance. They finally got to Sorensen, scoring five runs in the bottom of the seventh in a too-little, too-late offensive effort.
“It was just a magical season — our guys were grinding from the first day of offseason workouts, and they didn’t stop grinding until the final out today,” Lockwood, a 2010 Broomfield graduate, said of the Eagles. “Obviously we didn’t start the game like we wanted to, but we never gave up.”
Even in the midst of Broomfield’s final surge, the Lobos played with poise one would expect from a team extending its dynasty, making no errors and playing fundamentally sound baseball.
“I knew my defense was solid behind me, and I was getting a lot of groundballs,” Sorensen said. “And after all the close games we’ve played at state, we weren’t going to overlook a single pitch or play.”
Rocky Mountain posted one-run wins over Rock Canyon, Cherry Creek and Mountain Vista to open the tournament, ensuring the team a berth in the championship round. But the Lobos’ 7-2 loss in nine innings to Broomfield on Friday morning put them in the same lose-and-go-home boat as everyone else.
The Lobos responded emphatically Sunday with a title win that left them as the last team standing in a parity-powered 5A field.
“We just never flinched,” Bullock said. “You can’t ask anything more of your guys than that.” [...]
Fran Belibi may soon be playing above the rim in red, white and blue.
The 6-foot-2 wing for the Regis Jesuit girls basketball team, who garnered national attention last season when she became to first girl in Colorado to dunk during a high school game, is one of 18 finalists to make the USA Basketball U16 team.
The final roster will be cut down to 12 players Sunday, and that team will compete in the FIBA Americas Championship June 7-11 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Belibi, who averaged 15.7 points and 11.6 rebounds while leading the Raiders to the Class 5A state semifinals as a sophomore last season, was one of 133 players who were invited to the four-day trials last week at the U.S. Training Center in Colorado Springs.
“The entire weekend was an amazing experience for myself, my staff, the court coaches,” the team’s coach, Carla Berube of Tufts University, said in a statement. “We thought that having 133 talented athletes in this gym made it very hard for the committee. The athletes worked very hard every single session, every single scrimmage and gave it everything they had. To now be down to 18, I’m really, really looking forward to the next few days of practice.”
Belibi and the 17 other finalists will be in Colorado Springs this week participating in training camp ahead of the final cuts this weekend. The top four teams at the FIBA Americas tournament will qualify for next year’s FIBA U17 World Cup.
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Reaching this stage is another big step in a rapid basketball evolution for Belibi, who only began playing organized basketball as a freshman.
“I went to the first open gym before last year so I wouldn’t look dumb in tryouts,” Belibi told the Denver Post in January as her video of her dunks were plastered on highlight shows across national networks. “That doesn’t seem too long ago, and even though myself and my team have gotten a lot of attention now, I still have a lot to learn about the game and a long way to go with my dunks.”
Belibi, the only Colorado player among the finalists, further drew the attention of USA Basketball while playing at the organization’s U18 three-on-three national tournament in Colorado Springs last month. [...]
Denver Post preps editor Kyle Newman breaks down top teams, players and other highlights from the 2016-17 year in Colorado Class 5A and Class 4A high school sports:
Most Dominating Team
Andy Cross, The Denver PostGrandview Wolves forward Michaela Onyenwere stops to look at her options before shooting against Lakewood Tigers forward Kira Emsbo in the first half of the Colorado state girls 5A Championship game at the Denver Coliseum March 11, 2017 in Denver.
Amid numerous dominating title runs across the board this year, none stood out more than the Grandview girls basketball team’s pursuit of the 5A championship and the program’s first state title. Behind a star-studded cast highlighted by do-everything guard Michaela Onyenwere, the Wolves (27-1, Centennial League champions) did not lose to an in-state opponent all winter and finished with 19 wins by 20 points or more.
Best Non-Title Team
John Leyba, The Denver PostPomona quarterback Ryan Marquez (2) throws a pass down field during the first quarter against Columbine November 18, 2016 at Jeffco Stadium.
The repeat coronation of Valor Christian football overshadowed another standout year from Pomona, as coach Jay Madden and the Panthers (12-2) again boasted one of the deepest and most talented teams in the state at a smaller 5A school. Pomona’s loss to Valor Christian in the championship was the Panthers’ lone in-state defeat, but most impressively, the team overcame a slew of key injuries — to its top two running backs in the playoffs and its top lineman in the preseason — to again make a Sports Authority Field showing.
Most Clutch Performance
Kyle Newman, The Denver PostColbey Ross and No. 1 Eaglecrest take on No. 3 George Washington in the Class 5A state championship game on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. at the Denver Coliseum.
In a 5A basketball tournament where literally a dozen different teams could have made championship runs, it was Eaglecrest senior guard Colbey Ross who stood out above the rest and propelled the Raptors to their second state championship. The Pepperdine-bound Ross — who made a number of buzzer-beaters during the regular season — continued his ice-in-the-veins play when it mattered most, including key buckets in the fourth quarter and overtime of the Final Four as well as 15 points in the title game victory over George Washington.
Most Valuable Player(s)
John Leyba, The Denver PostCherry Creek Asher Nolting (9) and Regis G Braden Host (23) battle for the ball in the first quarter during the 2017 CHSAA Boys Lacrosse Championships – Class 5A on May 19, 2017 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Cherry Creek’s dominance down the stretch of the season en route to the 5A boys lacrosse championship is largely attributed to senior attackman and junior goalie Knox Dent. Nolting ranked first in 5A in points (114) and assists (66), while Dent ranked first in save percentage (.696) to propel the Bruins to their state-leading sixth state title over defending champion Regis Jesuit in the championship game.
Kyle Newman, The Denver PostCoach Dave Atencio meets with his infield during the 4A state championship game on Saturday, Oct. 22, at Aurora Sports Park.
For the second straight year, Valor Christian dominated the 4A diamonds in the fall and the spring. It started with the Eagles’ third straight softball title as coach Dave Atencio steered his softball squad to a 24-1 record, and was followed by coach Brian Bonn’s baseball team (22-5) that ran the table to a repeat championship this past weekend. And watch out for next year — each team returns their ace in Alexandria Kilponen and Luke Ziegler.
Cliff Grassmick, Daily CameraMitchell Graesser (5), of Boulder High School, holds up the state championship trophy after the win. Boulder beats Broomfield on penalty kicks to take the 5A state championship.
As is the promise of high school sports, there were plenty of dramatic finishes this year — but none had as much build up or as high of stakes as the 5A boys soccer championship between Boulder and Broomfield. The two teams played to a 1-1 draw through regulation and two overtimes at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, then needed 14 rounds of penalty kicks before Boulder senior Mitchell Graesser put home the winner to give the Panthers a 13-12 win and their second state title.
Kyle Newman, The Denver PostLakewood junior Sassy Coleman wears the team warmup honoring the late Mackenzie Forrest before the Class 5A Final Four at the Denver Coliseum.
After losing star guard and Regis University-bound Mackenzie Forrest in a car crash following last season’s state tournament, the Lakewood girls basketball team honored Forrest’s legacy at their Jan. 11 home game by retiring her No. 33 jersey. That poignant moment only built on itself throu [...]