The Boulder Legion C baseball team didn’t shy away from playing older, more seasoned competition throughout the summer.
As a squad comprised largely by incoming freshmen, the Panthers took their fare share of lumps during the past couple of months. But playing a tough schedule also forced the group to grow up in a hurry and learn how to compete, and those lessons paid huge dividends on Monday as Boulder claimed the Legion C state title with a 10-0 victory against Brighton.
“It was a great season with a lot of ups and downs,” coach Tyler Porritt said. “We played in a lot of B-level tournaments and, honestly, we got it handed to us a few times. But the way we were able to deal with failure was impressive.
“One of the things we stressed all year was, win, lose or draw, to play our game. They always kept their heads up. We bonded as a team better than any other team I’ve ever coached.”
Boulder C capped its postseason run behind a stellar pitching performance from Henry Ryan, whose sister, Odelia Ryan, also played a key role on the mound for the Panthers. Henry Ryan took a no-hitter into the fifth inning of the six-inning win in the title game, while Ivan Loya provided the big offensive blow with a bases-loaded double that cleared the bases.
Loya and Henry Ryan will be freshmen this fall, as will all-tournament selection Max Bajza, giving the Panthers’ program an impressive influx of talent next spring.
“This group of incoming freshmen were part of that group two years ago for North Boulder Little League that was one game away from the Little League World Series,” Porritt said. “It’s a very talented group of incoming freshmen.”
Reci Smith wasn’t expecting much when she made her official visit to Wake Forest in early July.
By the time she left the campus in Winston-Salem, N.C., Smith was certain she had found a new home. The junior-to-be from Fairview made it official by making a verbal commitment to continue her soccer career with the Demon Deacons.
“I had visited some other schools, and honestly I didn’t expect much when I visited (Wake Forest),” Smith said. “But I got there, and it’s a beautiful campus and I really loved the coaching staff. The ACC is a great conference with some of the best players in the country. As soon as I left it became my top choice over all the others.”
Smith led Fairview with 14 goals this past spring and ranked third on the team with five assists. As a sophomore Smith came on strong late, providing two goals in a first-round win against Fruita Monument in the Class 5A state tournament and adding two assists in the second round against Castle View before the Knights were eliminated in the quarterfinals.
Smith finished the 2013 season with four multiple-goal games.
Follow Pat on Twitter: @prooney07