MEAD — The regular season the Mead Legion B baseball team compiled was worthy of a No. 1 seed in its Northern Colorado District tournament this past weekend.
Perhaps to everyone’s surprise, the Mavericks were in the loser’s bracket after the first day of the double-elimination event.
But, the best teams learn from their mistakes, and coach Jared Parrish’s squad learned mostly not to underestimate anyone the rest of the way.
Mead defeated Fort Morgan 13-0 in Sunday’s championship held at Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, with Tyler Renninson coming in and shutting the door on the Mustangs in his second appearance of the tourney. The win advanced MHS to this week’s Legion B State Tournament in Woodland Park, which begins Thursday.
To make it to the title tilt, Mead had to play Valley and Rocky Mountain twice, not to mention perennial baseball powerhouse Eaton. And after losing to the Lobos 6-4 on the first day, they did it all with their backs against the wall.
“I think losing to Rocky Mountain really got our attention,” Parrish said on Monday. “I mean, we win that game and we’d have gotten a berth in state as the third place team.
“Now, we’re playing for our playoff lives.”
Against Eaton during the regular season, Parrish said they had pitched their ace, but he was not available. Instead, Justin Nelson took the reigns and tossed a gem. Mead went on to beat Valley for a second time — this one a lot easier than the Day 1 opener — and exacted revenge on Rocky Mountain, as well.
Parrish said he had reservations about throwing Renninson again on three days’ rest, but with some careful planning and devotion to his health, the senior-to-be kept Fort Morgan completely off the scoreboard. Renninson also hit three home runs on the weekend.
“He really put the team on his back,” Parrish said. “If you had to put a face on Mead baseball, I think you’d have to pick Tyler’s.”
He added that Dillon Buckendorf and Derek Ream rounded out an impressive weekend for the pitching staff — easily the most volatile area during a six-game-in-four-day tourney.
Hopefully, they’ll be up for it again this week.
Follow Adam on Twitter: @adunivan24