Moffat County baseball readies for grudge match in the playoffs

Bulldogs to face No. 9 Colorado Academy

Moffat County senior Carson Miller winds up for a pitch as the Bulldogs play Steamboat Springs on April 26 in Craig. MCHS will be competing against Colorado Academy this weekend on the baseball diamond in Alamosa to start the Class 3A state playoffs.
Eli Pace/Craig Press

The way the cards have been dealt for Moffat County baseball, the Bulldogs will be squaring up against a familiar foe.

With the regular season concluded, MCHS heads into the Class 3A state playoffs this weekend. Moffat County is seeded 24th in the field of 32, and the Bulldogs are scheduled to face No. 9 Colorado Academy.

The matchup will be a postseason rematch from last year, a game the Mustangs won 10-5 on their home field in Denver.

Colorado Academy had a distinct advantage last June with the condensed playoff field giving the top eight teams a bye round. Moffat County first faced Berthoud and won 10-5 before immediately taking on the Mustangs.

“Their coach last year came up and shook our hands and essentially said it would have been really nice to play you guys fresh instead of having them tired from the first game,” coach James Romansky recalled. “(Our opponents) were used to playing in pristine conditions, so if they had come here last year, the adversity from our field alone would have dampened their spirits.”

The expectations for this weekend — which will be hosted by eighth-seed Alamosa — are for a much different game from last year. A win over Colorado Academy will not only boost the Bulldogs’ spirit but also put them in good shape for the quarterfinals.

“If we can get past Colorado Academy, I think Alamosa is beatable,” Romansky said. “Colorado Academy is a good team, but they’re not perfect. I think we can surprise them and play good fundamental baseball.”

Colorado Academy is 16-6 and finished third in the 3A Metro League with an 11-4 conference record.

Moffat County senior Ryan Peck takes a swing against Middle Park on May 9 in Craig. Peck had two home runs against Basalt in Bulldog baseball's final games.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

MCHS players have been working out the kinks this week after their regular season ended with a doubleheader Saturday. The Dogs traveled to Basalt, falling 18-17 and 13-11 in a pair of back-and-forth games.

The first game went into an eighth inning despite a considerable lead for MoCo most of the morning, including going ahead 7-1 after the first inning.

The Longhorns gave up plenty of walks, and senior Daniel Running and junior Easton Eckroth each earned a double. The outcome looked promising for Moffat County with a 15-8 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.

However, Basalt had a stronger day at the plate and rallied with the seven runs they needed to keep the game going and edged ahead just enough in the eighth.

“We had some opportunities to win,” Romansky said. “We had a ground ball that was popped, a fly ball that was dropped, and then there was a poor throw to first base that was picked and not held onto. That would have ended the game in that last inning.”

Bulldogs coach James Romansky offers instruction to the Moffat County dugout as they face Steamboat Springs on April 26 in Craig.
Eli Pace/Craig Press

In the second game, dual home runs by senior Ryan Peck were a bright spot for the Bulldogs, who were leading 5-2 after four innings. Basalt went on a tear with nine runs in the fifth, and despite MoCo racking up six runs in the seventh, it wasn’t enough.

MCHS finished the regular season 11-10 and 7-7 in conference play. The Bulldogs ranked fifth in the 3A Western Slope League.

Fellow WSL teams North Fork, Delta, Basalt and Coal Ridge will all be going into the playoffs, with league champ North Fork the only one with hosting duties, ranked sixth.

Whoever is ahead of them, Romansky said, the Bulldogs crew is not looking to make this their final weekend.

“We’re not planning to finish anything but continue on to that state championship,” he said. “That’s what we’re thinking.”

Bulldogs pitcher Derrick Squires pitches during Moffat County’s victories over Roaring Fork 7-4 and 15-4 in a doubleheader May 7 in Craig.
Eli Pace/Craig Press

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