LOUISVILLE — The dilemma kept bouncing between the ears of Monarch baseball coach Scott Weiss, and he admitted to changing his mind more than a few times while his club patiently waited to begin play in the Class 5A District 3 tournament.
The question was who to run out to the mound for the Coyotes’ first-round game against Northglenn and, if victorious, who would follow against either Ralston Valley or Horizon.
Of course, senior ace Logan Soole was a virtual lock for at least one win, given his undefeated record and an earned-run average so small it needs to be read with a magnifying glass.
But Soole has been slowed of late by a sore hamstring, and No. 2 hurler Jacob Stockebrand had fired a two-hit shutout against Horizon just a few weeks ago. And finally, No. 3 pitcher Blake Rohm has answered the bell every time he has been called upon.
Yet Weiss kept coming back to one central fact — Soole is their guy, and he needed to take the ball for his team on the big stage at home.
After narrowly escaping Northglenn’s upset bid Wednesday morning in a tourney opener delayed four days by the weather, Soole turned in another dominant performance to lead the Coyotes to a 9-2 win against Horizon and a date in the Class 5A state tournament.
Monarch will face Chatfield on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at All-City Field in Denver in the opener of the double-elimination state bracket.
“I went back and forth about 10 times about it,” Weiss said. “In the end, I just didn’t know what I was going to get out of Logan today. We were going to throw Blake (against Northglenn) and see what we could get out of him. But I wanted Logan to be on the hill in that second game. You’ve got to go with your ace.”
Monarch needed a run-scoring grounder from Kyle Scholtz to secure a walk-off win against Northglenn, but the Coyotes wasted little time getting their offense on track in the finale against Horizon.
The hosts touched Hawks starter Tanner Nickoloff for four hits and three runs in the first inning. With Soole dealing on the mound, Monarch essentially put the game out of reach in the third, using three hits, three walks, and two hit batters to plate five runs and extend the lead to 8-0.
That was more than enough for Soole. While he appeared to be moving gingerly on the basepaths, the senior showed no ill effects from his hamstring on the mound, allowing only one run on four hits while recording 14 strikeouts in six innings.
“It wasn’t that bad, really,” Soole said. “It felt really good today.”
Rohm was nearly as impressive against Northglenn, allowing just one run on three hits while posting 10 strikeouts. That’s 24 strikeouts combined for Rohm and Soole in 13 innings on Wednesday.
Weiss indicated he would be all but forced to turn to Stockebrand for the state tournament opener against Chatfield. Given a victory means the Coyotes would play again immediately Saturday afternoon against either Cherry Creek or Grandview, the starter will likely be whoever bounces back more strongly on short rest between Soole and Rohm.
Given the way Monarch has been pitching the baseball, it’s a good problem for Weiss to have.
“I think we kind of grow off each other,” Soole said. “If I see Blake have a good outing, I want to go out there and do the same exact thing. Same thing if Jacob goes out there and has a good outing. We just try to work off each other and get it going.”
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Monarch 9, Horizon 2
At Monarch HS
Horizon 000 001 1 — 2 7 1
Monarch 306 000 x — 9 9 2
W — Logan Soole. L — Tanner Nickoloff.
Horizon hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Ayden Karraker 4-1-1-0, Tanner Nickoloff 3-0-2-0, Dominik Castiglione 3-0-0-0, Tyler Moore 4-0-1-0, Hayden Schaeffer 3-1-1-0, Jordan Humphries 3-0-1-0, Jordan Hill 1-0-0-0, Noah Saenz 1-0-0-0, Austin Gussman 2-0-0-0, Daniel Moore 1-0-1-1, Matt Favata 1-0-0-0, Elijah Salazar 2-0-0-0. Totals 28-2-7-1. 2B — Nickoloff, Humphries, Karraker. SB — Karraker.
Monarch hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Blake Rohm 2-0-0-1, Zack Berohn 1-2-0-0, Jason Jacobs 3-1-1-1, Logan Soole 2-0-0-1, Kyle Scholtz 4-2-2-2, Jacob Stockebrand 3-1-2-2, Zach Sattler 3-0-2-0, Tanner Trombley 3-1-1-2, Daniel Boehmler 3-0-1-0, Joe Kumar 0-1-0-0, Gus Light 2-1-0-0. Totals 26-9-9-9. 2B — Sattler. SB — Scholtz.
Horizon pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Tanner Nickoloff 2.1-5-8-8-5-0; Ryan Kessler 0.2-1-1-1-0-0; Jordan Hill 3-2-0-0-1-5.
Monarch pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Logan Soole 6-5-0-0-3-14; Jacob Stockebrand 1-2-1-0-0-0.
Monarch 2, Northglenn 1
At Monarch HS
W — Blake Rohm (3-2).
Monarch hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Blake Rohm 3-1-1-0, Jason Jacobs 4-0-1-1, Logan Soole 1-0-0-0, Kyle Scholtz 4-0-1-1, Jacob Stockebrand 2-0-0-0, Zach Sattler 3-0-0-0, Zack Berohn 3-0-1-0, Daniel Boehmler 3-0-0-0, Gus Light 2-0-0-0, Mitch Trenka 1-1-1-0. Totals 26-2-5-2. 2B — Jacobs.
Monarch pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Blake Rohm 7-3-1-1-1-10.