Legacy baseball took its lumps in the 2011 postseason, falling in the district championship. But the Lightning enter this year’s dance an older and wiser team.
“Last year, it was these guys’ first time to the district tournament,” Legacy coach Ty Giordano said. “This year, we’re much more battle tested and ready to become one of the elite eight left playing after this weekend.”
The senior-heavy Lightning (15-4) kick off their bid to reach the program’s first berth in the Class 5A state championship series 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the District 9 Tournament. The 11th-seed team found out after the Colorado High School Athletic Association’s seedings were released Monday, it faces No. 22 Cherokee Trail (11-8) in the opening round.
The winner of the game advances to play the victor of No. 27 Fruita Monument (11-8) and No. 6 Dakota Ridge (15-3). While the brackets include one of the two teams to beat top-seed Cherry Creek — host Dakota Ridge — Giordano believes his team received a strong seed. Though, he would have preferred if the Lightning would have been chosen has a host team.
“We felt we deserved some consideration with the record we had,” Giordano said. “But given how the rest of districts shook out, we’re happy with where we are playing.”
The Lightning’s Front Range League foe Monarch (14-5) was the only other local 5A team to make the cut.
The Coyotes return to the postseason, after missing the past two years. But No. 16 Monarch has its work cut out for it in the District 1 Tournament. The team faces 17th-seed Ponderosa (13-6) at 12:30 p.m., in its opening game, but it potentially gets a lot harder from there.
The host is No. 1 Cherry Creek (17-2), who at 10 a.m. faces the winner of Wednesday’s pigtail game between 33rd-seed Denver West (8-11) and 32nd-seed George Washington (6-13).
Even with stout competition in the future, Scott Weiss believes his team has already proven plenty making it to the district tournament.
“It’s been our goal since the start of the year,” the first-year Monarch coach said. “It a big boost, especially for the seniors. We wanted to give them a great experience before leaving the program.”
Both teams are moving in the right direction at the right time, each has closed out their seasons strong. Legacy and Monarch have both won six of their last seven outings, helping the squads move into the tournament with the wind at their backs.
“The teams that get hot at the end of the season are the ones that seem to do the best,” Weiss said. “So we’ll obviously take the way we have been playing.”