DENVER - The bats came alive in the second inning, and it looked like the Monarch baseball team would cruise into the state tournament.
Hitting, pitching and defense keyed the Coyotes' 11-game winning streak heading into the Class 5A District 2 final against Mullen, but the magic ended after that half-inning.
Monarch committed three errors, walked five batters and watched the Mustangs chip away before finally taking the lead. The Coyotes never recovered, falling 7-5 Saturday.
"We needed 12 in a row to reach the state tournament and we fell one short," coach Scott Weiss said of the win streak.
It was a tough ending for a Monarch team that was scuffling early. The Coyotes (14-7) turned it around to win 11 straight and finish second in the 5A Front Range League.
"It was a great run for everybody on the team," Zach Berohn said. "That kind of turnaround you don't normally see."
The turnaround had them on the brink of reaching state. The 11th win, 4-2 over Fountain-Fort Carson, came in the first game Saturday. The Coyotes couldn't keep it rolling against host Mullen despite a five-run second inning against freshman pitcher Clayton Burke.
Zach Sattler's two-run double gave Monarch a 3-0 lead and Berohn smacked a homer to left right after to make it 5-0.
"That big inning, we were ahead in the count a lot and getting good pitches to hit," Berohn said.
Mullen got three back in the bottom of the third off starter Mitch Trenka on the strength of two errors and a walk. Another error in the fourth and a walk helped Mullen score again and load the bases. Roy Grigsby came on but two wild pitches gave the Mustangs a 6-5 lead.
Monarch nearly tied it in the top of the sixth but Sattler was thrown out at the plate after Berohn's double to right.
"It had to take a perfect throw to get him and he did it," Weiss said of Mullen right fielder Jonathan Wickersham.
The Coyotes got past Fountain-Fort Carson in the opener with some timely hitting and good defense. The Trojans outhit Monarch 12-5, but a three-run third inning, aided by three balks on pitcher Ricky Marshall, opened the door.
The Coyotes also benefitted from an overturned strike three on Dan Boehmler that would have ended the inning. He walked and Connor Flynn followed with a two-run double to make it 3-1.
The Trojans got a run in the fifth but Monarch answered in the bottom of the inning.
The season ended a game later, but Weiss is proud of what his players accomplished.
"When we were 3-6 I never would have thought we could be a game from the state tournament," he said.
Mullen 7, Monarch 5
At Mullen High School
Monarch 050 000 0 — 5 10 3
Mullen 030 301 x — 7 7 0
W — Joey Salvato. L — Mitch Trenka.
Monarch hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Lofstedt 4-1-1-0, Sattler 4-1-2-2, Berohn 3-1-2-2, Boehmler 4-0-2-0, Stockbauer 0-1-0-0, Flynn 4-0-0-0, Mike Trenka 3-1-2-0, Mitch Trenka 3-1-1-1, Coatney 2-0-0-0, Seebaum 3-0-0-0. Totals 30-5-10-5.. 2B —Sattler, Boehmler. 3B —Mike Trenka. HR —Zach Berohn (1 on in 2nd.
Mullen hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — M. Salvato 3-2-1-0, J. Salvato 3-1-1-0, Miranda 3-0-1-1, Handley 3-1-1-0, Barr 2-1-0-0, Porreco 3-1-1-1, Wickersham 3-0-0-0, Lobo-Lucio 2-1-1-2, Salas 3-0-1-0. Totals 25-7-7-4.
Monarch pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Mitch Trenka 3 2/3-5-6-5-3-2; Roy Grigsby 1 2/3-2-1-1-3-2; Matt Hoban 2/3-0-0-0-0-2.
Mullen pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Burke 4-7-5-5-1-6; J. Salvato 3-3-0-0-1-2.
Monarch 4, Fountain-Fort Carson 2
Fountain-Fort Carson 010 010 0 — 2 12 0
Monarch 003 010 x — 4 5 0
W — Tyler Seebaum. L — Ricky Marshall. S — Zach Berohn
Fountain-Fort Carson hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Kramer 4-0-1-0, Daigneault 3-0-0-0, Downs 4-1-3-0, Daub 4-0-2-0, Giaquinto 3-1-2-0, Kruse 3-0-1-0, Sanders 3-0-0-0, Ward 2-0-1-0, Gonzalez 3-0-2-0. Totals 29-2-12-1. 2B —Downs. SB —Downs.
Monarch hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Lofstedt 3-1-2-0, Sattler 4-0-0-1, Berohn 1-2-0-0, Boehmler 2-0-1-1, Stockbauer 0-1-0-0, Flynn 2-0-1-2, Mike Trenka 2-0-0-0, Mitch Trenka 3-0-1-0, Rodriguez 2-0-0-0, Campeau 1-0-0-0, Seebaum 3-0-0-0. Totals 23-4-5-4. 2B — Boehmler, Flynn. SB —Lofstedt 2.
Fountain-Fort Carson pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Marshall 5-4-4-4-3-5; Kramer 1-0-0-0-1-2..
Monarch pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Seebaum 4 2/3-8-2-2-1-1; Berohn 2 1/3-4-0-0-0-1.