Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer
This is the time of year that all the prep sports teams in Colorado break out their calculators and start to figure out where, if anywhere, they may fall in the statewide postseason brackets.
For baseball in particular, Erie has been one of the teams that has traditionally been penciled in for a postseason berth before the season begins. Last year, however, the Tigers won just four games and didn’t reach the playoffs for the first time in recent memory.
But the Tigers (8-9, 5-7 Tri-Valley), who currently sit 19th in the Class 4A RPI standings after winning six of their last eight games, are among the BoCoPreps.com-area teams positioned to be in the mix this May. With only a two-game series against another playoff-bound conference rival in Mead (10-7, 5-7 Tri-Valley) left in the regular season, that is unlikely to change.
“Any time you’re going into the playoffs, you want to finish strong,” Erie head coach Harold Simmons said. “It’s good for us to be playing well going into the postseason. I think it’s safe to say that both us and Mead are in. That’s a good feeling for us. After not being in it last year, we’re ready to get back.
“We’re one of those teams that has always scheduled aggressively. Last year, we had nine one-run losses and it kind of bit us in the butt and we weren’t in the top 32. But this year, our whole conference has been so strong and that’s been the key. That’s one of the keys to success with the RPI. Depending on how those last two games with Mead go, we could end up in a good spot.”
Scheduling aggressively has benefitted teams all across Colorado but the ball clubs in the Tri-Valley League have had to look no further than their own conference to boost their RPI scoring. Including No. 1-ranked Windsor, the Tri-Valley appears poised to send a minimum of six of its eight teams to the regional round of the postseason.
Currently sitting at No. 33 in the RPI standings with a two-game series against playoff-bound Holy Family (11-4, 9-3 Tri-Valley) still to play, the Skyline Falcons (7-10, 4-8 Tri-Valley) have the potential to be the seventh Tri-Valley League team to qualify for the 32-team postseason in 4A.
“You know, we’ve had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows this season,” Skyline head coach Travis Schlagel said. “Last year, we had to win one of our last three and we ended up getting walked-off twice. As a coaching staff, we’ve been trying to keep our eyes on the RPI and keep our kids in it. We like our situation right now because we know we need to just go out there and play loose and try to get a win to try to put ourselves in a better spot.”
Along with Erie, Skyline, Mead and Holy Family, the Longmont Trojans (15-2) will also make the playoffs as the automatic seed out of the Northern League after locking up the conference title.