BOULDER — Former Monarch High baseball player Zach Berohn had been looking from afar the past couple of seasons at the Boulder Collegians knowing they have a history of contending for their summer league championship year in and year out.
In his third summer since graduating and moving on to Cuesta College, Berohn is glad to be right in the thick of things as the regular season is coming down to a close.
Wednesday's 13-3 non-league win over the Northern Colorado Bandits just kept the train rolling, and the Collegians have now won 10 of their past 11 games with next week's Rocky Mountain Baseball League tournament looming.
"It's awesome to be on a summer baseball team that is so competitive, and we are a pretty tight bunch of guys," Berohn said after going 2-for-3 with a run scored in the game at Scott Carpenter Park. "A lot of times summer ball is real individual based, but this team is more about winning and trying to play for the team.
"I didn't get a chance to go to a lot of the games in the past, but my roommate Cole (Tucker) and I had been talking about it during school. I paid a little attention to them, but I always knew it would be a cool place to be."
The regular season carries a ton of meaning for RMBL teams, as the regular season champion gets an automatic berth into the National Baseball Congress World Series held annually in Wichita, Kan. The league tournament champion also gets in, and the tournament runner-up earns a bid if the same team wins both the regular season and the tournament.
As it stands, the Collegians (18-6) are firmly in second place in the league behind the Colorado Sox (16-4) — but the Sox have five games remaining against RMBL teams. Some of those games may not be counted as league contests, however.
The Collegians have just one league game left — a makeup game against the bottom-dwelling Pirates. Otherwise, the schedule before next week's tournament at the Regency Athletic Complex in Denver includes teams like the NoCo Bandits, who play in the Mile High Collegiate Baseball League.
"We're using these games to tune up for the playoffs and work on some things, and for me that's working on my at-bats" Berohn said after the team produced 14 hits overall and scored nine runs in the third inning to take control. "But we're getting a lot of guys in. We came out today, and everyone was still playing to win. It was just a little bit different than last night."
The Collegians have some good wins recently, but none were bigger than a double-header sweep of the Rough Riders on July 4. The Collegians earned wins of 4-3 and 8-7, both in walk-off fashion.
The team needed no heroic efforts on Wednesday, but AJ Stephens (Garden City Community College) threw a solid five innings for the win and Noah Lee (Texas-Rio Grande Valley) went 3-for-4 with three RBI. Everybody in the lineup scored a run.
"It was a great job by AJ to get out there and put some of the things he's been working on to the game," Collegians head coach Haas Pratt said. "We are coming to win these games because we take pride in getting those wins.
"We're in a good position, but we could be in a better one. I don't like having to have help from other people (for the regular season title) but it's part of the games. We have had a good stretch of baseball and that's what I'm excited about."
The Collegians are back in action Thursday at Scott Carpenter Park, taking on the Denver Cyclones.
Boulder Collegians 13, NoCo Bandits 3
At Scott Carpenter Park
NoCo Bandits010 200 0 — 3 9 0
Boulder Collegians209 101 x — 13 14 0
W — Stephens.
Boulder Collegians hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Linahan 3-1-0-0, Piscotty 2-2-1-1, Schafer 2-2-1-0, Lee 4-1-3-4, Messinger 2-1-1-2, Moreland 4-1-3-3, Thane 4-2-2-1, Berohn 3-1-2-0, Lovato 3-2-1-1. Totals 27-13-14-12. 2B — Messinger, Lee 2, Berohn. SB —Linahan, Piscotty.
Boulder Collegians pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Stephens 5-7-3-3-0-1, Heath 2-2-0-0-0-2.