DENVER — Considering a .500 record and a lack of a playoff appearance was a very plausible outcome to the 2015 campaign in the preseason thoughts of Monarch baseball coach Scott Weiss, the Coyotes had nothing to be ashamed of Sunday afternoon.
Still, that sort of solace never makes the end sting any less.
The math finally caught up with Monarch in its second game of the Class 5A state tournament, as too many pitching arms working on too little rest paved the way for a 7-6 defeat in eight innings in an elimination game against Grandview.
“It was just fatigue,” Weiss said. “All these teams we played … Chatfield had a week of rest. Grandview had four or five days of rest. And we had two days rest. Logan (Soole) got to about 70 pitches and started burning out.”
Because Monarch could not complete its weather-delayed district tournament until Wednesday, the Coyotes entered the state tournament with both Soole and Blake Rohm having pitched full seven-inning games just a few days previous.
Weiss turned to Stockebrand in Monarch’s tournament-opening loss against Chatfield on Saturday, and while Soole took the ball on Sunday at All City Field, he was unable to repeat the magic that had carried Monarch all season.
In five innings the Coyotes’ ace surrendered four earned runs on four hits and six walks. Entering the game, Soole had allowed only 12 walks in 45 2/3 innings, and his uncharacteristic struggles Sunday also included a balk, a hit batter, and two wild pitches — one of which allowed a run to score.
“It was tough,” Soole said. “It was tough getting in a groove, tough spotting up.”
Monarch took a 4-1 lead on a two-run single by Tanner Trombley in the top of the fifth, but the Wolves chased Soole with a three runs in the bottom of the frame, tying the game at 4-4.
Soole’s struggles didn’t follow him to the plate, as his solo home run in the sixth once again gave the Coyotes the advantage. In the bottom of the sixth Rohm, in relief of Soole, believed he had a called third strike on Grandview’s Eric Mingus that would have ended the inning. Instead Mingus eventually walked, and Tyler Smith followed with an RBI single to once again tie the game at 5-5.
Refusing to go down quietly, Monarch scratched out a go-ahead run in the top of the eighth, but Rohm simply ran out of gas in the bottom half of the inning. Grandview loaded the bases on a leadoff hit by pitch and a pair of bunt singles before a bases-loaded walk and another hit by pitch ended Monarch’s season.
Mingus and Smith each posted three RBIs for Grandview. Catcher Daniel Boehmler went 3 for 4 with an RBI for the Coyotes.
“I’m incredibly proud of this team. They’ve accomplished so much,” Weiss said. “At the start of the season, I thought maybe we were a .500 team. Obviously it stings and it hurts right now, but I told these guys for the rest of their lives they’re going to remember this season. It’s going to be one of the best times of their lives.
“Before the season started I told people that I wasn’t sure if we would even make the playoffs. There were so many unknown pieces. For them to come together the way they did … we competed and we battled. It’s unfortunate it had to end this way, but it’s fortunate we got to play in the state championships.”
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Grandview 7, Monarch 6
At All City Field
Monarch (16-5-1) 010 121 01 — 6 10 0
Grandview (14-9) 100 031 02 — 7 8 3
W — Coley Hakes. L — Blake Rohm.
Monarch hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Blake Rohm 4-0-0-0, Jason Jacobs 4-0-0-1, Logan Soole 5-1-2-1, Kyle Scholtz 5-1-1-0, Jacob Stockebrand 3-1-0-0, Zach Sattler 3-1-1-0, Tanner Trombley 3-0-1-2, Daniel Boehmler 4-0-3-1, Joe Kumar 0-2-0-0, Gus Light 3-0-1-0, Mitch Trenka 1-0-1-0. Totals 35-6-10-5. 2B — Boehmler. HR — Soole (none on in 5th). SB — Sattler, Scholtz.
Grandview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Keifer Glau 4-2-1-0, Travis Parker 3-2-1-0, Erie Mingus 3-1-3-3, Tyler Smith 4-0-3-3, Nick Brown 3-1-0-0, Tyler Odorisio 1-0-0-0, Chase McLaren 3-0-0-0, Carter Boswell 3-0-0-0, Riley Spriggs 2-0-0-0, Morgan Smith 1-1-0-0. Totals 27-7-8-6. 2B — Mingus 2, T. Smith.
Monarch pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Logan Soole 5-4-4-4-6-5; Blake Rohm 2+-4-3-3-2-1.
Grandview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Grant Schroeder 4+-5-4-2-3-2, Coley Hakes 4-5-2-2-0-3.