Behind powerhouse Peyton, 2A District 8 baseball is shaping up to be a competitive, unpredictable league

Calhan's Joe Hayes tags out Evangelical Christian's Daniel Perry at home during a 2A District 8 baseball game on Thursday, April 5, 2018 at Calhan. ECA won 9-7. (Lindsey Smith, GazettePreps)

If there’s one thing that’s for certain in 2A District 8, it’s that the Peyton baseball team is going to be tough to beat.

But once you scroll past the 7-1 Panthers, the rest of the league gets a little murky with five remaining squads that could finish virtually anywhere in the league.

This week’s two-game series between Calhan and Evangelical Christian is a clear indicator of the level of competition in District 8, as both teams battled for late-inning wins, splitting the series in dramatic fashion.

On Tuesday Calhan scored seven runs in the top of the seventh inning to force extra innings before scoring the winning run in the eighth.

On Thursday ECA trailed by three runs heading into the final inning before scoring four in the top of the seventh to eventually clinch a win, evening the season series at one.

And that neck-and-neck series is only the beginning for what is slated to be a competitive year among teams in 2A District 8.

“This is going to be an interesting season,” ECA coach Bob DeRuiter said. “I think Peyton has a leg up on everyone else, but I think us, Calhan and Dolores Huerta could be 2-3-4 and that’s what we were last year. But at the same time Simla and Ellicott have both gotten better too so none of these league games are gimmies.”

Peyton leads the league with a 7-1 overall record and remains undefeated at 5-0 in league play, and has allowed just 13 runs to be scored against it in league games so far this season. The Panthers were scheduled to finish their series with Dolores Huerta on Thursday. Peyton swept ECA by a scoring margin of 31-10.

Calhan sits in second in the league despite registering its first league loss Thursday. The Bulldogs are 8-2 overall. Ellicott follows in the league standings at 1-2 and 2-3 overall. ECA is in fourth with its first league win over Calhan and is 5-4 overall. Dolores Huerta has the third-best overall record at 6-3 but is winless in league play.

“Peyton we know is up there not only in our league but in the state competing at a very high level, but the rest of us, it’s pretty unpredictable,” Calhan coach Donovan Mitchell said. “We’re all pretty similar, just like this week against ECA. Tuesday was a one-run game, (Thursday) was a two-run game, and I expect next week when we play Dolores it will be very similar, so really it’s hard to say. It depends on the day in this league.”

Peyton has sat atop the 2A District 8 rankings for the last two seasons and has not lost a league game since 2015. ECA took second in the league last year, followed by Dolores Huerta and Calhan. In 2016 Calhan and ECA tied for third in the league.

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