Basalt baseball charges into 3A state playoffs
The Aspen Times
The Basalt High School baseball team is headed back to the state playoffs.
The Longhorns, after wrapping up the regular season with a 2-1 win over Battle Mountain in an eight-inning nonleague game, were seeded No. 22 in the 32-team Class 3A state baseball field.
The teams will play at eight district locations on Saturday, with four teams at each district site.
The top eight teams were awarded home sites for district play.
Basalt (13-6) will take on No. 11 Kent Denver (13-6) in the opening game of the district tournament.
The game will be played at No. 6 seed Cedaredge (17-2). Cedaredge will play No. 27 seed Clear Creek (10-8) in the first round of district play.
The Basalt-Kent Denver winner will take on the Cedarege-Clear Creek winner in Saturday afternoon’s district championship game (3 p.m. at all sites).
Defending state champion Eaton (18-0) is the top seed in Class 3A this season.
Other district hosts include No. 2 Holy Family (17-1), No. 3 Faith Christian (16-3), No. 4 Lamar (15-4), No. 5 Bayfield (16-3), No. 6 Cedaredge (17-2), No. 7 Sterling (12-7) and No. 8 Alamosa (13-6).
Other teams from the Western Slope League competing in district play include Gunnison (16-3), the No. 9 seed. Gunnison will play No. 24 The Academy (12-6).
Olathe, the No. 21 seed at 11-8, will play Greeley University (14-5) in the district tournament at Bayfield.
Coal Ridge (10-9) is the No. 30 seed in the field. Coal Ridge will play at Faith Christian on Saturday morning.
Basalt will enter the state playoffs with momentum from the extra-inning victory over Battle Mountain on Monday.
“We needed this win after the disappointing double loss to Olathe last Saturday,” Basalt head coach Bud Hickman said. “It will be a positive force for us as we prepare for the state playoffs.
The Longhorns had nine hits in the win over Battle Mountain.
Mark Barto led off the fifth inning with a single.
“Tim Johnson excited a perfect bunt to move Barto into scoring position,” Hickman said. ”Then, Carlos Leal delivered a double to score Barto (for the Longhorns’ first run).
The score remained tied until the bottom of the eighth inning.
Tucker Jenkins was hit by a pitch.
He stole second, and Noah Schoenberg singled to left to move Jenkins to third base.
Nick Calabro was walked intentionally to load the bases.
With bases full, the Battle Mountain pitcher hit Cody Hoffman to force Jenkins home with what turned out to be the winning run.
“Cody Hoffman was hit by opposing pitchers for a record 12 times this season,” Hickman said.
Calabro pitched the first four innings, striking out seven batters.
The Basalt senior leads Class 3A with 104 strikeouts for the season.
Schoenberg pitched the last three innings and picked up the win.
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For Basalt, one of the preseason frontrunners in the Western Slope League, Friday’s loss puts its playoff hopes in jeopardy, while Aspen’s loss to the Bulldogs all but eliminates it from postseason contention.