DENVER — The final day of the summer season was long and full of waiting, but it ended exactly how the Boulder Legion B baseball team had hoped it would.
After waiting all day to find out who would face them in the American Legion B state championship game, and later having to sit through a 2½-hour rain delay, the Panthers defeated Elizabeth, 12-1, to claim the state title. It was a challenging win that proved a satisfying finale to a remarkably successful season.
"It was a great season and hopefully it just showed the talent that we'll have next season," Panthers pitcher Jake Shaul said. "Today was a long but fun day, and when our first baseman Jackson Dinkel scooped the ball for the final out, it was a great feeling."
Shaul, who was named Most Valuable Player for the tournament, held the Elizabeth lineup to just one run and struck out six batters while the Panthers lineup scored a dozen runs in the first four innings to force the 10-run mercy rule.
For the Panthers (42-3), who outscored their four state tournament opponents 51-15, their most recent offensive outburst begin with two runs in the second inning without the benefit of a hit. After three more runs in the third, and with the Panthers leading 5-1, it began to rain heavily. The game went into a rain delay following the top of the fourth.
Resuming at 6 p.m., the Panthers exploded for seven runs on five hits and three walks in the bottom of the fourth, and Shaul's fourth scoreless frame of the day clinched the victory.
"Our guys came from behind a lot, showed adversity and strength and will power," Taylor said. "We were really excited about this season even after having some adversity in the beginning, and once we got rolling, it quickly started to feel like we would have been disappointed if we didn't win the state championship. I'm super excited to have coached them and to get to coach them again in the spring."
Dinkel, Sean Coan and Cai Lemieux-Mack each had two hits for the Panthers, and catcher Tommy Wymore drove in three runs. Dinkel, Tariq Maaherra, Charlie Esson and Doug Blankenship each scored two runs.
During the postgame trophy ceremony, Noel Hackett received the award for the tournament's top pitcher.
Boulder 12, Elizabeth 1
At Machebeuf H.S.
Elizabeth 001 00 — 1 5 4
Boulder 023 7x — 12 8 0
W — Shaul. L — Bauer.
Elizabeth hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Weidenbacher 3-0-2-1, Bauer 3-0-1-0, Brown 3-0-0-0, Steinke 2-0-0-0, Berndt 2-0-0-0, Speicher 1-0-0-0, McMillan 2-0-0-0, Bauerle 1-0-0-0, Bott 1-0-0-0, McFadden 2-1-2-0. Totals 20-1-5-1. SB —Brown.
Boulder hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Maaherra 1-2-0-0, Lim 1-1-0-1, Wymore 3-0-1-3, Scapo 0-1-0-0, Esson 2-2-1-0, Dinkel 3-2-2-2, Coan 3-1-2-1, Blankenship 1-2-0-0, Lemieux-Mack 3-1-2-2, Bajza 3-0-0-0, Shaul 0-0-0-0. Totals 20-12-8-9. 2B — Dinkel, Wymore. SB — Maaherra.
Elizabeth pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Bauer 1-0-0-0-0-1, Steinke 2-3-5-3-2, Bott 1-5-7-6-3-0.
Boulder pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Shaul 5-5-1-1-0-4.