DENVER — After an unusually pedestrian performance Saturday, the situation has become clear-cut for the Monarch baseball team.
The Coyotes have to win twice on Sunday to keep their season alive.
A 6-3 loss to Chatfield in the opening round of the Class 5A Championship Series — a contest in which the Coyotes weren’t their vintage selves at All City Field — put Monarch in that precarious position.
“We’ve been winning baseball games this year on pitching and defense,” Coyotes skipper Scott Weiss said. “Pitching was so-so and the defense was less than so-so. I haven’t seen us play that way defensively in several weeks.”
Three errors, a passed ball and a wild pitch contributed to four unearned runs, all after a two-plus-hour lightning delay in the top of the second. The miscues weren’t limited to the defensive side. Even when the Coyotes (16-4-1) scored, the sequences were met with a bittersweet end.
Starting pitcher Jacob Stockebrand delivered a two-run single in the fifth to tie it 3-3. Earlier, Gus Light gave the Coyotes a 1-0 lead on a second-inning RBI single. On each play, Monarch’s trail runner was thrown out from center field to end the inning.
But the Coyotes, who will make a quick turnaround to face Grandview (12:30 p.m., Sunday, All City Field), understand that this isn’t the time to hang their heads.
“Our goal coming into the weekend was to win to games and get on to next weekend,” senior second baseman Kyle Scholtz said. “We made it tough by losing this one, but we just have to come out tomorrow and try to win two.”
Chatfield began the season 1-8 but made a coaching change to Matt Johnson and have excelled since. The Chargers (12-10) got successive RBI singles from Kyle Winkler and Camden Lawhead in the fifth to jump ahead 5-3 and chase Stockebrand.
The Chargers added a run against reliever Mitch Trenka in the sixth and Monarch couldn’t mount a rally against closer Mike Lucero in the seventh.
“Our team’s been really resilient this year and faced a lot of adversity,” Weiss said. “They know what’s in front of them.”
Because Monarch wasn’t able to play districts until Wednesday, ace Logan Soole wasn’t available for this one. He’ll start the Grandview game and sophomore Blake Rohm is the likely option if the Coyotes advance. Weiss said he will be mindful of arm usage and not overextend anyone.
Stockebrand wasn’t as sharp as during his back-to-back shutouts to close the season, but he was victimized by poor defense early. An error directly led to the Chatfield’s first run and Stockebrand’s own errant pickoff throw and wild pitch to the Chargers’ second.
Scholtz made two magnificent plays in the field but also committed the early error to sum up things for the Coyotes. But now it’s time to move forward.
“Hopefully Blake and Logan will be good to go tomorrow,” Scholtz said. “I don’t know how their arms are feeling, but that would be huge if they can come back and throw tomorrow. That would put us in a really good position to win both those games and advance to next week.”
Scholtz believes the Coyotes will come out with fire.
“I know that these guys are just a bunch of fighters,” Scholtz said. “We’ll go home and erase this and be ready to fight tomorrow.”
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Chatfield 6, Monarch 3
At All City Field
010 020 0 — 3 6 3
010 221 X — 6 8 1
W — Mike Watson (3-2). L — Jacob Stockebrand (3-1).
Monarch hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Blake Rohm 4-1-2-0, Jason Jacobs 3-1-0-0, Logan Soole 4-0-0-0, Kyle Scholtz 3-0-1-0, Jacob Stockebrand 3-0-1-2, Zach Sattler 2-1-1-0, Mike Trenka 1-0-0-0, Mitch Trenka 1-0-0-0, Dan Boehmler 3-0-0-0, Gus Light 2-0-1-1. Totals 26-3-6-3. 2B — Sattler.
Chatfield hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Jake Carstensen 3-1-2-1, Bryen Linn 4-1-0-0, Kyle Winkler 4-1-2-1, Camden Leonard 2-1-1-1, Mike Lucero 3-1-1-0, Tyler Goff 3-0-0-0, Jack Winkler 3-0-1-1, Tyler Johnson 2-1-1-0, Chad Schultz 1-0-0-0, Jake Knoll 0-0-0-0, Braydon Petroshus 0-0-0-0. Totals 25-6-8-4. 2B — J. Winkler.
Monarch pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Stockebrand 4.1-7-4-1-2-1, Mitch Trenka 1.2-1-1-1-2-1.
Chatfield pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Matt Watson 6-6-3-3-4-3, Mike Lucero 1-0-0-0-0-1.