DENVER — A pitcher's duel at Coors Field?
Yes, that was the case Thursday afternoon at the Colorado Rockies High School Futures game. And, appropriately, it began with two of Boulder County's best starting for their respective teams.
Broomfield's James Notary and Silver Creek's Cole Winn toed the pitching rubber first in the all-star game pitting 2017 seniors against underclassmen, and though the time was short for each of them the brilliant display of pitching was trend-setting in what turned out to be a scoreless, rain-halted tie.
Notary and Winn capped tremendous individual accomplishments this season with a chance to start the game, which featured more than 50 of the state's top prep ballplayers.
Joining Notary from Broomfield were senior Matt Turner and junior Tanner Garner and sophomore Mitch Morales, and BoCo was also represented by Niwot's Skyler Messinger.
"We had a great run, and even though it didn't finish the way we wanted it to at the end of the day we went a lot farther than a lot of people expected us to," Notary said of Broomfield, which made the Class 5A state championship game. "Last year we had a couple guys here and this year, to have four guys here it really means we're coming up and getting better."
For many of the players on the field, it wasn't the first time they had the chance to contest a game at Coors Field. But there's no doubt that everyone involved considered it an honor to be selected to this group.
Notary noted that in a sense, with players crossing paths frequently in club ball and high school ball, that the dugout is a sort of reunion and that makes for a fun environment throughout the festivities.
Even getting a chance to match wits with Winn was a unique opportunity, he said. Winn also pitched a 1-2-3 first inning.
"I'm good friends with Cole, so it was cool to go head-to-head with him that first inning," said Notary, who will be packing up to head to Texas Christian in a matter of days. "It was a special experience overall and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
"At some point, you've played with almost all the guys so you get in the dugout and know everybody. It's just a good experience."
In last year's game, Messinger made the biggest noise of anyone on the roster by hitting a home run to dead left field with a wood bat. There were not many great hits like that to speak of this time around, but every BoCo player contributed to the game.
Messinger, in fact, got the final of nine hits for the seniors before the teams were pulled off the field because of the weather. Turner got the first of those hits while getting the start at first base, and Garner played third base and had a base hit for the underclassmen.
Morales, one of just a handful of sophomores, pitched an inning without allowing a run — showing off the next up-and-coming arm for head coach Garren Estes.
"It was an honor to be selected for the game and I know there just aren't a lot of guys that get to do this," Morales said. "To have four guys from Broomfield selected was a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to next year already, and hopefully we can pick up right where we left off.
"It was a lot of fun to see (Notary) start again, and hopefully he carries all of his success to college with him. I'm glad I didn't have to face him."