Baseball: Kringlen powering hot Holy Family lineup into final four

Tigers’ senior cleanup hitter had eight hits in three 4A state tournament games last weekend

Holy Family's offense has been led by senior Collin Kringlen, who smashed three home runs the first weekend of the Class 4A state tournament. The Tigers play Pueblo West Friday morning looking to make the finals.
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Holy Family’s offense has been led by senior Collin Kringlen, who smashed three home runs the first weekend of the Class 4A state tournament. The Tigers play Pueblo West Friday morning looking to make the finals.

BROOMFIELD – Even though he was playing at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs both Friday and Saturday of the Class 4A state baseball tournament’s opening weekend, word of what Holy Family’s Collin Kringlen was doing with the bat quickly spread to the other site at UCHealth Park.

In the first three games of the state tournament, the Tigers senior had an incredible eight hits in 12 at-bats and drove in eight runs. He homered in all three games.

That’s just silly.

Kringlen pacing the Tigers (22-6) lineup was a major reason they’re still playing after going 2-1 in the opening days to advance as one of four final teams left alive in the double-elimination bracket. They will take on top-seeded Pueblo West in the state semifinals on Friday and when they do, the Tigers will certainly be hoping their 6-foot-5 cleanup hitter still has the mojo working.

“I mean, we were all pretty much seeing the ball pretty well down there,” Kringlen said. “We’ve been waiting for our offense to look like that and what really changed was just having a good approach for everyone. We were looking for good pitches to hit in good counts and not missing. It’s always more mental than physical in baseball. We opened up right away against Cheyenne Mountain and that was a huge energy boost for us. Then we just carried that into the rest of the games.

“We didn’t want any of our seniors going home just yet.”

Heading into the home stretch of the season, Kringlen and the Tigers coaching staff made some minor adjustment to his swing, moving his top hand positioning and focusing on having him sitting back further and not getting out on his front foot as much. The slight alterations, and their desired results, came just in time for the Colorado School of Mines-bound senior to stride into the final weekend of the season with a slash line of .476/.564/.829 and an OPS of 1.393 with six home runs and 25 RBIs through 28 games.

Against Cheyenne Mountain in the Tigers’ state tournament opener, Kringlen went 2-for-4 with four RBIs and the Tigers won 13-4. In an 11-7 loss to Silver Creek in the next round, he went 2-for-4 and drove in a run while scoring two. At UCCS on Saturday, Kringlen went 4-for-4 with his third home run of the state tournament’s opening two days and his effort helped pace a 13-2 win over Erie that sent the Tigers on to the final four.

The slugging first baseman has also pitched 4 1/3 innings at state so far, tossing 3 1/3 scoreless frames in relief against Cheyenne Mountain before giving up three runs to Silver Creek, the tournament’s lone remaining unbeaten, in his second relief appearance.

The Holy Family baseball team won state titles in 2010, 2013 and 2014, all while the Tigers were still in 3A. Since moving up to 4A in 2015, they have reached the state tournament just once, going 1-2 at state last spring to fall a win short of the final four. Returning six starters from last year’s team, including the bulk of their pitching staff, the Tigers entered this season with their sights set on a state title and they will soon get their chance to make it happen.

“We are confident and we know we’ve got a shot, for sure,” Kringlen said. “It always comes down to who is playing the best on that day but if we play like we’re supposed to, we knew we’ve got a chance because we are capable of beating any of these teams.”

With a four-headed attack atop their staff – Weston Siefken (1.58 ERA), Jordon McFarland (2.55), Kringlen (2.73) and Izaak Siefken (3.09) – the Tigers have the pitching depth needed to compete at the state tournament. Their defense has been just fine all season, as well.

Holy Family team members celebrate their ...
Parker Seibold/For
Holy Family team members celebrate their 13-4 win against Cheyenne Mountain in the first game of the Class 4A state tournament this past Friday.

But with the top of the order hitting well to the emergence of Kringlen’s power stroke on down to nine-hole hitter Davis Martinek, who went 7-for-10 at the plate on the opening weekend of the state tournament, Holy Family’s offense might be the final piece of the puzzle in their search for a first 4A state title. They have a season-long team batting average of .317 but are hitting at a .381 clip since the state tournament began.

“After we got out of districts, we really emphasized our offense,” Tigers head coach Marc Cowell said. “We felt our pitching was going to keep us in games and our defense has been solid, but we really haven’t had five or six guys all clicking to where we could put up crooked numbers in multiple innings of a game. So we really focused on our offense going into last weekend and it felt like we were really dialed in at the right time.

“We’ve had a bunch of guys hitting and coming up with clutch hits, and it’s different guys at different times. Sometimes it’s everyone. We think we can compete with any of the teams down there.”

The Tigers will open the final weekend of the state tournament against the Pueblo West Cyclones, who either walked off or were walked off in each of their first three tournament games, starting at 11 a.m. on Friday at UCHealth Park in Colorado Springs.