LAFAYETTE– “Revenge is sweet,” some would say.
Just ask the Alamosa High School baseball team who defeated Peak to Peak, 7-5, here Saturday in the regional final to advance to the “elite eight” state tournament in Greeley. The Mean Moose will face Delta at noon Friday at Butch Butler field, a team they split with early this season.
The Friday-Saturday state tournament schedule means Alamosa’s 12 seniors will miss their regular high school graduation. A separate ceremony for the team is tentatively scheduled for 10 a.m. on Sunday.
Alamosa built a five-run lead against the host Pumas but had to hold on for the two-run victory, avenging an 11-10 extra-inning loss to the same team in last year’s regional final on the Maroons’ home diamond. It put the Moose, who defeated Florence in the regional opener 9-5, in the state tournament for the first time since 2014.
Pitching was crucial for the then 11th ranked Moose at regionals as seniors Caden Alonzo and John Lujan dominated as starters on the hill.
Coach Bryce Strecker told his team strong batting and solid defense and pitching was crucial to the regional championship.
The Moose built a 7-2 lead through six at-bats but allowed Peak to Peak to score three runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Lujan was credited with the finals’ victory for AHS, allowing six hits and five runs over five and a third innings, striking out seven. Sophomore Tyler Duarte came in for relief on the mound and shut down the Pumas with the help of stellar defense.
Garrett Shriver took the loss for Peak, surrendering seven runs on 11 hits over six innings, striking out eight and walking zero.
Ben Wuckert, Jose Manriguez, Adam Crowder and Kaden Hardesty all managed multiple hits for AHS, with Crowder knocking in three RBIs.
Alonzo collected the win in the opener with the Florence Huskies, allowing five runs on two hits and striking out seven. Austin Barrows threw two innings in relief out of the bullpen.
Despite allowing four runs in the third inning, Alamosa held on to defeat the Huskies. The Moose showed their prowess at the plate with the first batter as Kolten Hillis went yard to open the game which featured nine AHS hits.
Alamosa built an early lead with three runs in the fourth frame and never trailed, Alonzo and Wuckert both driving in runs. Gage Calder led the Moose at the plate with three hits in four trips including a double. Wuckert and Hillis had two hits apiece, one of Wuckert’s also being a double.
The Maroons were aggressive on the base paths with five stolen bags, two each by Hillis and Jared Carson.
University drew the top seed in this weekend’s state tournament at Greeley and will face Colorado Academy in the opener. In the bottom bracket, Eaton faces Resurrection Christian while St. Mary’s meets Lutheran in a parochial battle.
Regular season IML champion Bayfield lost its regional final and did not advance to state.