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Baseball: Broomfield splits in opening day of Class 5A state tournament

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AURORA — Broomfield baseball finally met its defensive match.

On Friday at the Class 5A state baseball tournament at Eaglecrest High School, the seventh-seeded Eagles fell to sixth-seeded Valor Christian as the Eagles struggled to contain a heavy-hitting Valor offense, 13-4.

The Eagles relied on their gritty defense in their first game of the day to end a late Fort Collins run and steal victory, 7-6. That set them up to take on Valor in the winner’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament.

“I think it sets a good standard,” head coach Garren Estes said. “This first game is always huge to win. In 2017, we were in the same boat. We would go into it and play against the No. 2 slot and win, and then we lose to Mountain Vista in game two, just like we did this. It’s not like this loss is going to destroy us. In 2017, we went to the state championship game anyway, so we’re still good.”

In the second game of the day for both teams, Valor held the momentum from beginning to end, and Broomfield couldn’t muster up any offense to turn the tides in its favor.

“We had a lot of well-hit balls, just right at guys,” Estes said. “There’s just nothing we can do. We just kept hitting the ball hard, hitting the ball hard — line drives right at guys, balls in the outfield right at guys. They hit the ball where we weren’t and we hit the ball where they were. We competed. We played a (good) baseball game. The good thing about these guys even in this game, we didn’t quit.”

Broomfield began the day with a nail-biter of a victory over second-seeded Fort Collins.

The Eagles spent six innings building up a 7-2 lead, only to watch it crumble in the bottom of the seventh. Through a series of hits and walks, the Lambkins pulled just within striking range.

With two runners on and two outs down, the ballgame could have swung either way. A groundout to short ended an otherwise sketchy situation to save the game for the Eagles.

Junior first baseman Ryan Anderson gave his boys a boost with two RBIs in the first campaign of the day.

Now, the Eagles must work their way back up through the consolation bracket to try to make it back to the winner’s circle. That campaign will begin on Saturday at noon, as Broomfield will next take on the winner of the No. 8 Fairview vs. No. 5 Legacy morning game.

Earlier in the season, Broomfield defeated Legacy in a 2-1 pitcher’s duel and lost to Fairview in a 16-6 slugfest.

“We’ve played (Valor) before. We’ve lost twice in a row. I think we’ll learn from our mistakes. We won’t lose to who we’re going to play tomorrow,” Anderson said. “We had a good approach to the plate today. A lot of hits were falling (in the first game) and (Valor) had a lot of hits that were falling, so I think our luck will go the other way tomorrow.”