FREDERICK — Knowing its talent level was unprecedented in its program’s history, the Peak to Peak High School baseball team set out to take full advantage of its potential in 2015.
The goal was to advance farther than any Peak to Peak team had previously. This year’s Peak to Peak team already did that twice by winning a district tournament game and then another to advance to the eight-team, double-elimination Class 3A state tournament.
On Monday at Frederick High School, the Peak to Peak boys broke new ground in their school’s record books with a 3-0 win over Gunnison to nail down the first-ever state tournament victory for Peak to Peak.
“It’s just part of our legacy,” Peak to Peak senior Mitchell Ward said. “Our class, ever since our freshman year we’ve been talking about how we wanted to be the first ones to win a playoff game. Then we wanted to win two and go to state and win one at state. We were so close a few times and we finally did all three so it’s just a great legacy to leave.”
Peak to Peak’s state tournament run ended with an 8-2 loss to Sterling (16-8) in the next round. But just winning the one game was a relief for Ward and his senior teammates.
Ward and the Pumas (16-8) have lost in the district tournament in each of the past three seasons, once by way of the 10-run mercy rule in 2012 and on walk-off hits in each of the past two years. With that in mind, and with the ball in his hand as the Pumas’ starter on Monday, Ward left Gunnison (17-5) with no opening to play spoiler.
For the first time in his prep career, Ward pitched a one-hit shutout. He struck out six Gunnison batters while walking two.
“I was just glad to go out there and get a win,” Ward said. “We already came farther than anyone thought, so to get that one win was an exclamation point on top of that. Yeah, that was fun.”
Ward also drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning when he singled to bring home Matt Bagnato from third base. Later in the sixth, Peak to Peak’s Zach Feigelson drove in Ward with another single and scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Tommy Shriver.
Last week, Peak to Peak defeated Alamosa and then Basalt to win the 3A District 4 tournament. In the opening round of the state tournament on Friday, Peak to Peak lost 3-2 in 10 innings to Brush for its first loss.
The 2015 campaign was a breakthrough season for Peak to Peak under first-year head coach Derek Urban. But Urban said the Pumas aren’t satisfied.
“We set the groundwork so that everyone knows what Peak to Peak is going to bring next year,” Urban said. “We graduate six seniors and a few of them were huge for us. But our future is still there and half our starting lineup were sophomores, so as a program we expect to be playing on this stage every year from here on out.”
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Peak to Peak 3, Gunnison 0
At Frederick HS
Peak to Peak 000 003 0 — 3 11 1
Gunnison 000 000 0 — 0 1 1
W — Mitchell Ward. L — Brevin Book.
Peak to Peak hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Alex Bradfield 4-0-1-0, Matt Bagnato 4-1-2-0, Mitchell Ward 4-1-2-1, Blake Bride 4-0-0-0, Zack Feigelson 3-1-1-1, Brayden Weyer 2-0-0-0, Seth Bussinger 1-0-1-0, Tommy Shriver 2-0-2-1, Jack Walther 3-0-1-0, Ben Pinkerman 3-0-1-0. Totals 30-3-11-3. SB — Bagnato 2.
Gunnison hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Colby Archuleta 3-0-0-0, Jake Wallin 3-0-1-0, Brevin Book 3-0-0-0, Ian O’Banion 3-0-0-0, Tyler Percival 1-0-0-0, Brady Wilson 2-0-0-0, Trey Percival 3-0-0-0, Trenten Cribari 3-0-0-0, Dylan Miller 1-0-0-0. Totals 22-0-1-0. SB — Ty. Percival, Archuleta.
Peak to Peak pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Mitchell Ward 7-1-0-0-2-6.
Gunnison pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Brevin Book 7-11-3-1-0-4.
Sterling 8, Peak to Peak 2
At Frederick HS
Sterling 220 100 3 — 8 7 4
Peak to Peak 000 200 0 — 2 1 2
W — Alex Jimenez. L — Brayden Weyer.
Sterling hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Dusty Kaan 2-1-0-0, Matt Wheeler 3-1-1-2, Ethan Rose 3-2-2-1, Jacob Thiessen 4-0-0-0, Alex Jimenez 2-1-1-0, Ryan Boyer 2-1-0-0, Braedon Kloberdanz 3-0-1-2, Austin Burkholder 3-2-1-1, Rocco Poncetta 4-0-1-0, Wade Kellogg 0-0-0-0. Totals 26-8-7-6. 2B — Wheeler. 3B — Rose. SB — Burkholder 2, Rose 2, Wheeler, Kellogg .
Peak to Peak hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Alex Bradfield 3-0-0-0, Matt Bagnato 4-0-0-0, Mitchell Ward 3-0-0-0, Blake Bride 3-1-1-0, Zack Feigelson 2-1-0-0, Seth Bussinger 3-0-0-0, Tommy Shriver 3-0-0-1, Jack Walther 3-0-0-0, Ben Pinkerman 2-0-0-0. Totals 26-2-1-1.
Sterling pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Alex Jimenez 5-1-2-0-2-3, Ethan Rose 2-0-0-0-0-1.
Peak to Peak pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Brayden Weyer 2-2-4-3-4-2, Blake Bride 5-5-4-3-4-5.