BROOMFIELD — The primary goal for Holy Family's baseball team on Saturday may not have been to knock Skyline out of the Class 4A playoff picture, what with their own intentions of peaking at the right time really the top priority.
But with a dramatic seventh-inning, two-out rally that eventually parlayed into Collin Kringlen's two-run walk-off home run in the eighth, the Tigers may have gotten two birds with just one stone — a really big, 108-stitched stone that was deposited over the right field fence giving HFHS a 5-4 win at Kevin Ritz Field.
Trailing from the outset of the game, not playing with a lot of buzz in the dugout, Kringlen said, the Tigers found life in the bottom of the seventh and turned the tables completely on Skyline, which came into the game ranked No. 32 in the 4A ratings percentage index.
The top 32 teams make the playoffs.
"It definitely was high-energy at the end, and after we got that first run on the board it went up a ton there in the dugout," Kringlen, just a sophomore and who came in as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning, said of the Tri-Valley League game. "We were confident because we have come back from behind before.
"A win like this is great and it just gives us great momentum right into the playoffs."
Late heroics abounded for the Tigers, who at 12-7 should get a slight bump in their own No. 28 RPI ranking. Holy Family suffered through several innings in which they had runners on early but could not score them, but all that changed in what could have been their final turn with the sticks.
Phil Elliott hit into a fielder's choice off Nate Higgins to put two outs on the board, but Cameron Miller followed with a walk before Wayne Bode hit a hard, sinking line drive to center field the proved a tough play for Clayton Eldred. Zach Becker then toed the right field line with a long fly ball — a triple that scored Bode and tied the game 3-3.
Skyline wasn't done, gaining a 4-3 lead in the top of the eighth with James Canar's run-scoring single, but Holy Family started the bottom of the frame with a Jordan Closen single to bring up the young Kringlen.
There was no thought of a sacrifice situation, Holy Family head coach Marc Cowell said, and Kringlen made the 'swing-away' stance pay on the first pitch he saw from Austin Soriano.
"We hit that pitcher pretty well on Thursday, so I didn't want to exchange outs for 90 feet," Cowell said. "I was going to trust the guys to do the right thing. Keep hands back, look for a pitch up, and fortunately (Kringlen) got one and was ready for it."
"We knew we needed to get (Higgins) to his pitch max and get to their bullpen," Kringlen said. "I was pretty confident in seeing a fastball. I was just looking for anything in the zone."
Skyline had seven hits but likely will look back at their fifth and seventh innings as crucial ones. In the fifth, the Falcons loaded the bases with just one out but only got one run home, and they had runners at second and third with one out in the seventh yet came up empty.
The loss stings for SHS, but it did not officially eliminate the Falcons. They simply have to hope the loss will not drop them below No. 33 Littleton and that No. 34 Discovery Canyon, who beat Sand Creek (No. 59 RPI) on Saturday, does not leapfrog them.
"We played a very good ballgame today, and the game can be brutal sometimes," an emotional Skyline coach Travis Schlagel said. "This is my first group of seniors that I've seen all the way through, and they busted their butts. We played hard ... we just don't have as much depth as a lot of teams and it can hurt us sometimes."
Holy Family 5, Skyline 4
At Holy Family HS
Skyline (10-9, 8-6) 110 001 01 — 4 7 0
Holy Family (12-7, 9-5)000 000 32 — 5 12 0
W — Clingman. L — Soriano.
Skyline hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Zietlow 4-1-1-0, Canar 4-0-1-1, Chaparro 4-1-2-1, McGregor 0-0-0-0, Riddoch 2-0-0-0, Hamby 4-0-0-0, Higgins 3-0-0-1, Eldred 2-2-1-0, Chrisman 3-0-1-0, Schernecke 4-0-1-1. Totals 30-4-7-4. 2B —Zietlow. SB — Riddoch.
Holy Family hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Miller 4-1-0-0, Rode 4-1-2-2, Becker 4-0-2-1, Clingman 3-0-1-0, Neill 4-0-2-0, Closen 4-1-2-0, Siefken 2-0-0-0, Kringlen 2-1-1-2, Coufal 30-1-0, Giron 0-0-0-0, Elliot 3-1-1-0. Totals 33-5-12-5. 2B — Rode. 3B —Rode, Becker. HR —Kringlen.
Skyline pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Higgins 6.2-10-3-3-2-5, Soriano 0.1-2-2-2-0-0.
Holy Family pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Becker 6-6-3-3-3-0, Clingman 2-1-1-1-3-3.