LAFAYETTE — There is still a ways to go for Slammers North to punch its ticket to Fort Worth, Texas, but the team went a long way Friday toward ensuring a trip to the Lone Star State.
The Broomfield-based club remained undefeated in the Connie Mack State Tournament, knocking off a scrappy Regis Jesuit squad 4-2 in the semifinals at Peak to Peak. North’s 40th win of the summer means the state title and a berth in the July 18 South Plains Regional Tournament in Texas are now theirs to lose.
As the only undefeated team remaining in the double-elimination tournament, North has to win only once Saturday to win the crown but would have to lose twice to miss out.
“We’ve built a huge amount of momentum over the past few days,” North designated hitter Colby Smith said. “Having to beat us twice is pretty tough right now.”
The first game of the championship is at 11 a.m., at Peak to Peak and continues what has been a tournament-long family feud. North faces sibling program Slammers South for the championship, with South having beaten Slammers Lakewood 10-4 in Friday’s semifinals.
If North wins at 11, they’re champs. If South wins, they’ll square off again at 1:30 p.m.
North coach John Malkin is not taking anything for granted in the championship, but given his team’s recent play and its history with South he likes its chances. This is the fourth time the Slammers chapters have met this summer, with North having won two of three so far, including a mercy-rule decision in Thursday’s third round of the state tournament.
Malkin believes his team is more than up to the task of collecting another win.
“We’ve had five or six close games this summer, one or two run games. That starts to pay off at this time of year,” he said. “We just need to come out Saturday and do what we have all year.”
North’s calling card throughout the tournament has been consistent and timely at bats. And the team’s steady stream of singles did not run dry against Regis, coached by former Colorado Rockies shortstop Walt Weiss.
North finished the morning with seven hits, all singles, keeping its base runners moving early. The team scored all its runs in the second and third, with the latter inning the Slammers’ most productive.
The team moved three runners home in the third off a two-run single by Tyler Tucker and an RBI knock by Smith.
“It’s been good to come out here and hit the way we have,” Smith said. “We loaded bases, got into scoring position and never let their pitcher get comfortable.”
Even with the strong offense North had some teeth-clenching at-bats. The team had the potential for three more runs in the third, but miscues by base runners ended the inning. And the team loaded the bases in the fifth and sixth, but failed to score a run in each inning.
“We had three opportunities there and didn’t cash in,” Malkin said. “But Walt has a good defense over there and played scrappy. But our guys didn’t get nervous, they just kept on playing.”
Regis — a bulk of whose players helped the high school team to the Class 5A state finals in the spring — gave North a scare toward the end.
Regis halved the score off Brody Weiss’ second hit of the game, with the shortstop sending two home off a single to left field in the fifth. Regis built off Weiss’ momentum in the seventh, loading the bases, but could not come up with a decisive hit.
The game ended when Taylor Craft hit a dribbler the Slammers parlayed into a 2-3 double play.
“It was a tense finish,” said pitcher Tyler Tucker, who closed the win for the Slammers. “I didn’t expect to load the bases, but then they allowed us to turn a double play when their hitter didn’t run to first.”
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Slammers North 4, Regis Jesuit 2
At Peak to Peak H.S.
Regis Jesuit 000 020 0 — 2 9 1
Slammers North 013 000 0 — 4 7 0
W — Good. L — Todd.
Regis Jesuit hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Urich 2-1-1-0, A. Schmidt 2-1-2-0, Weiss 4-0-3-2, Kennedy 2-0-0-0, Craft 4-0-0-0, Todd 3-0-1-0, M. Schmidt 3-0-2-0, Donavan 3-0-1-0, Powers 3-0-0-0. Totals 26-2-9-2. 2B — A. Schmidt 2. 3B — None. HR — None. SB — None.
Slammers North hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Gulambos 4-0-1-0, Geiger 2-1-1-0, Soole 3-1-2-0, DeSantis 1-1-0-0, Tucker 3-0-1-2, Malkin 2-0-0-0, Smith 2-1-1-1, Clapper 3-0-1-1, Mulcane 2-0-0-0. Totals 22-4-7-4. 2B — None. 3B — None. HR — None (grand slam in 4th). SB — Geiger.
Regis Jesuit pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Todd 5-6-4-3-7-5, Mitchell 2/3-1-0-0-1-0, Woodruff 1/3-0-0-0-0-0.
Slammers North pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Good 42/3-7-2-2-1-3, Tucker 21/3-2-0-0-2-2.