PUEBLO - Peyton baseball coach Kelly Nickell believes his 2019 lineup is one of the best in the state.
And they have the numbers to prove it.
Specifically, the Panthers' 2-3-4 hitters who have been a lethal combination throughout the season. Jaeden Meyers, Peyton’s No. 2 hitter, leads the team with a .524 batting average, followed by Rodney Gregg and Rupert Shaw, who have nearly identical numbers, hitting .478 and .476, respectively.
1 of 18
Peyton's Rupert Shaw makes a hit during the Class 2A state baseball championship game against the Fowler Grizzlies on Saturday afternoon at the Runyon Field Sports Complex in Pueblo. The Panthers took home the state title, 3-0.
Peyton's Rupert Shaw looks up to catch a ball during a play.
Panthers players dump a water jug coach Kelly Nickell in celebration after their win against the Fowler Grizzles for the Class 2A state championship title.
Peyton's Josh Gonzales and Fowlers Gabriel Proctor both signal to the ump after Gonzales ran to second.
Peyton's Rodney Gregg watches a ball as he runs to first base during a play on Saturday afternoon.
Peyton's Nick Bachmeier throws the ball to first.
The Peyton Panthers cheer and point at the crowd to thank them for their support throughout the year.
Peyton's Josh Gonzales drops his bat and makes a run for first base.
Peyton's Josh Gonzales leans back to avoid being hit by a ball during their game against the Fowlers.
Peyton's Josh Gonzales reaches up to catch a ball after a a Fowlers batter hit the ball into outfield.
Peyton's Cameron Schaefer runs his hand through his hair as he stands at the edge of their dugout and a bluebird day at Runyon Field Sports Complex in Pueblo.
Peyton's Chance Claman makes a cloud of dust and debris as he dives into third base.
Peyton's Nick Bachmeier throws the ball toward first base during a play in the Class 2A state baseball championship game.
Peyton's Josh Gonzales swings and hits the ball before running to first base.
Peyton's Brennen Meyers runs toward third base.
Peyton's Brennan Meyers hits the ball.
Peyton pitcher Rupert Shaw throws a pitch. Shaw pitched the full game against the Fowler Grizzlies on Saturday afternoon.
Peyton's Austin Strobel throws the ball to Rupert Shaw at the pitchers mound after they made a play in attempt to tag out Fowler's Luke Bitter.
“It’s pretty brutal - we’re a potent lineup when we are hitting on all cylinders,” said Gregg.
But Gregg and Shaw’s similarities don’t stop at the plate. They’re both first basemen and starting pitchers who had a vital role in Peyton’s state title.
Gregg pitched a complete game with six shutout innings in the Panthers’ semifinal win over Wiggins, while Shaw dealt for seven innings in a three-hit shutout for the championship.
“Every pitch I threw I felt in the zone,” said Shaw, who played first base the game before.
But prior to the 2019 season, Shaw was a shortstop. The senior transitioned to first base to help fill the gap when Gregg was pitching.
“The transition was pretty easy,” Shaw said. “There’s not much you have to do with a team this good, you just stand there and catch the ball.”
“They’ve been a great 1-2 punch all year,” Nickell said. “And to throw Jaeden in there with them, it’s nice to have the best three players in the state in your lineup like that.”
With Gregg and Shaw both starting in the state championship doubleheader, Meyers was the team’s No. 1 in relief. Heading into the weekend, Meyers had a 0.82 ERA and 27 strikeouts through 17 innings of relief. Meyers is also the team’s leader in stolen bases and has a .944 fielding percentage with just two errors on the year.