COLORADO SPRINGS – The Holy Family baseball team’s 2019 season came to an unexpectedly abrupt end on Friday.
In the Class 4A state semifinals at UCHealth Park, the Tigers fell behind early and couldn’t catch up during a 14-1 loss at the hands of top-seeded Pueblo West. It’s reasonable to assume the Tigers had prepared themselves for the possibility of their season ending in a loss, having reached the point in the state playoffs when any game could go either way and only four of the 68 teams in 4A remained.
But the Tigers certainly didn’t envision the final game of their season going sideways so quickly and lasting just four and a half innings and just over an hour and a half. That didn’t diminish Tigers head coach Marc Cowell’s pride in this year’s club advancing further than any previous Holy Family team had since moving up to 4A in 2015.
“It feels like Holy Family baseball is back because you get to the final four and you lose, and we’re disappointed and upset about it,” Cowell said. “Most teams would be thrilled to be here. To me, that means our expectations are back where we want them to be. We’re going to reload and we’re going to get after it again next year.”
Holy Family won state titles in 2010, 2013 and 2014 while the Tigers were still in the 3A classification. But with their ace Weston Siefken on the mound Friday, they were ambushed by a Pueblo West lineup that had posted two walk-off victories in three previous games at this spring’s state tournament.
Siefken, a senior who had a 1.58 ERA in 62 innings leading up to the final four, faced six batters before recording an out in the first inning. All six of those runners scored and the 2018 runner-up Cyclones exited the first frame with six runs on just four hits. The Tigers got on the board when Zach Becker doubled to drive in Josh Baker in the third inning but the Cyclones added seven more runs on five hits in the fourth to win by mercy-rule.
“I thought if we could have got the momentum going, that would have started to build,” Cowell said. “But in those first two innings, we leave four guys on and we couldn’t get that key hit. We were never able to get that confidence and that momentum going. And, you know, that bases-clearing triple (in the first inning) obviously got the momentum going for them. To me that was a big difference in the game, those two factors.”
The Tigers entered Friday’s semifinals batting .381 in three previous state-tournament games but mustered only five hits in their second loss of the double-elimination bracket.
Pueblo West 14, Holy Family 1
At UCHealth Park
Holy Family (23-7) 001 00 – 1 5 1
Pueblo West (26-3) 610 7x – 14 11 0
W – Dennistan. L – Siefken.
Holy Family hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – McGowan 3-0-0-0, Baker 3-1-2-0, Becker 3-0-1-1, Kringlen 1-0-0-0, Callaway 2-0-0-0, Delgado 2-0-0-0, King 2-0-0-0, Conney 2-0-1-0, Martinek 2-0-1-0. Totals 20-1-5-1. 2B – Becker.
Pueblo West hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Jameson 3-1-2-2, Declusin 4-2-1-0, Cordova 1-3-1-0, Blackford 3-2-2-3, Mason 2-2-1-1, Barth 3-2-3-4, Dionisio 1-1-0-1, Tate 3-0-0-0, Gist 3-1-1-2. Totals 23-14-11-13. 3B – Barth. SB – Gist, Jameson, Cordova.
Holy Family pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) – Siefken 3.1-9-12-9-3-1, McFarland 0.2-2-2-2-1-1.
Pueblo West pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) – Dennistan 5-5-1-1-1-3.