BOULDER — For the bulk of six innings, the much-improved Boulder baseball team played toe-to-toe with a Monarch squad ranked eighth in the latest Class 5A AP media poll.
Yet going against Monarch ace Logan Soole leaves no margin for error, and once the Coyotes managed to scratch out a couple runs, the Panthers probably felt like they had to rally from a dozen back.
From there, Soole went on cruise control, as Monarch officially locked up a playoff spot by blanking Boulder 7-0 at Scott Carpenter Park.
“We knew Boulder was coming back as a team this year, and they’ve been impressive,” Monarch coach Scott Weiss said. “So that’s why I had to throw my ace against them. We had slow bats to get started. But with this team, when you get one run up and you’ve got Logan Soole on the mound, you see the confidence pick up. And then all of the sudden the bats pick up.”
The victory improved Monarch to 12-3-1 overall and 7-3 within the Front Range League, assuring the Coyotes of one of the league’s five automatic berths into postseason district tournament play. Yet given the Coyotes currently sit at seventh in 5A Wild Card points with quite winnable games remaining against Greeley West and Mountain Range, and Monarch still has its sights set on beginning the postseason at home.
“The team has eyes on sweeping through this week, and we still have an outside chance of being a host school,” Weiss said. “That’s what the goal is now. Right now we’re seventh in the Wild Card and the top eight host that first weekend. We haven’t hosted in 10 years at Monarch and it would be fantastic for this program.”
Boulder starting pitcher Isaac Parks matched outs with Soole through four innings, escaping a two-on, no-out jam in the second while retiring nine of the first 11 Monarch batters he faced. The Coyotes took a 1-0 lead in the fifth on an RBI single from catcher Dan Boehmler, but Parks survived the bases-loaded jam by getting Soole out on a hard line drive to third.
A leadoff single by Kyle Scholtz in the sixth followed by a throwing error from Parks led to two more runs for Monarch, and the 3-0 advantage was more than enough for Soole. The senior left-hander finished with 12 strikeouts while lowering his earned-run average to a minuscule 0.77 (five earned runs in 45.2 innings).
Soole helped provide his own insurance runs during a four-run seventh for Monarch, slapping an RBI single and adding a hustle run after breaking from second on a three-two count and coming all the way home when the ball got away.
“I feel like we’re definitely working toward getting that home spot for districts. That’s big for us,” Soole said. “We knew Boulder is a good team and I knew they’d be fighters hitting-wise and scrappy. I knew we’d have to be on our game today. Our defense really played a great game and (Boehmler) had a good game behind the plate.”
For Boulder, the loss dropped the Panthers into seventh in the FRL with one game remaining at home Saturday against Fossil Ridge, which boasts a 6-4 league mark and must face No. 3-ranked Fairview on Thursday. With Boulder entering Wednesday’s play ranked 28th in Wild Card points, Saturday’s regular-season finale could present a win-or-go-home scenario for the Panthers.
“It’s going to be tough,” Boulder coach Colt Sedbrook said. “It’s something to talk about, but we just have to take care of business. You have to commend our guys for battling against a stellar athlete like Soole. We knew we were going to have to battle, and it really came down to that sixth inning when they started to pour it on.”
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Monarch 7, Boulder 0
At Scott Carpenter Park
Monarch 000 012 4 — 7 10 1
Boulder 000 000 0 — 0 4 2
W — Logan Soole (6-1). L — Isaac Parks (1-3).
Monarch hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Blake Rohm 4-1-1-0, Zack Berohn 3-0-0-0, Tanner Trombley 0-1-0-0, Logan Soole 3-1-1-1, Kyle Scholtz 4-2-3-1, Jacob Stockebrand 2-1-1-1, Zach Sattler 3-1-1-1, Jason Jacobs 4-0-1-0, Dan Boehmler 4-0-2-2, Gus Light 2-0-0-0, Charlie Atkin 1-0-0-0. Totals 30-7-10-6. 2B — Boehmler. SB — Scholtz.
Boulder hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Tommy Baumgartner 3-0-1-0, Montana Guegan 2-0-0-0, Kelby Woodard 3-0-1-0, Ari Barnett 3-0-0-0, Andrew McCarthy 3-0-0-0, Dana Sullivan 2-0-1-0, Max Bajza 3-0-0-0, Henry Ryan 2-0-1-0, Cameron Burke 2-0-0-0. Totals 23-0-4-0. 2B — Woodard.
Monarch pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Logan Soole 7-4-0-0-1-12.
Boulder pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Isaac Parks 6-8-7-7-3-7; Wyatt Linde 1-2-0-0-1-1.