MONUMENT - Palmer Ridge coach Jason Heidel describes his 2018 squad as fighters.
And fight they did in the Class 4A Region 4 baseball championship.
But unfortunately for the Bears a seventh-inning knockout by the hands of Evergreen ended Palmer Ridge’s run in the state tournament in a 13-9 loss.
Evergreen could not shake Palmer Ridge through the first six innings as the Bears battled back to eliminate each deficit Evergreen put up, tying the game three times.
“They never give up and they keep fighting and they believe in themselves,” Heidel said. “That’s an important part of baseball, and success in baseball and my guys have it.”
But fourth time's the charm for Evergreen, which scored five runs through the final two innings as the Palmer Ridge defense began to falter. Five walks, a balk and an error helped to bring three unearned runs across in the sixth and seventh innings.
“We had to bring them together and let the captains lead, we had to stick together and try to overcome,” Heidel said. “We’re overcomers and unfortunately we came up short but I’m super proud of them.”
Charlie Deeds hit 4 for 5 with four RBIs, including a two-run RBI to tie the game for the third time. Ben Kleinsmith had three hits and three RBIs, including a solo home run and two doubles.
But as the Palmer Ridge baseball team embraced after its postgame meeting, Heidel remembered to put the season into perspective.
“We weren’t even supposed to be here at the beginning of the season,” Heidel said. “And all season we fought hard to get where we were. We have a great group of junior guys and they’ve learned a lot from our senior players. I next year is going to be a successful year as well.”
The Bears ended the season 16-5.
Falcon intentionally walks way into trouble in Region 4 semi
Not much went right for Falcon after the top of the fifth inning in a semifinal meeting against the Evergreen Cougars in the 4A Region 4 tournament.
After a two-run home run by Conner Kessler tied the game at six, Falcon’s defense couldn’t control Evergreen and its hot bats in a 13-6 loss.
A pair of singles led off the bottom of the fifth inning and Falcon decided to intentionally walk Evergreen’s Jack Patterson, who had a two-run home run in the bottom of the first. And the Cougars made them pay. Andrew Stephens stepped up to the plate and smacked a two-RBI single to regain the lead.
Later in the inning with runners on second and third Falcon chose to intentionally walk Bryce Pearson, who had a double in the fourth. Ethan Stiles stepped up and hit a two-RBI single to bring the Cougar’s inning count to four.
Falcon turned a double play to get out of the inning, but the damage was done.
Evergreen went on to score three more runs in the bottom of the sixth, all the while shutting down Falcon’s offensive momentum.
Brock Owen, Matt Williams and Brady Sides had RBIs for Falcon, which ended its season 12-8.
Evergreen moved on to win the Region 4 championship over Palmer Ridge.
Palmer Ridge’s Charlie Deeds, relievers flex muscle in pitchers’ duel
The Class 4A Region 4 opener at Palmer Ridge set the stage for a day of top-notch baseball as Palmer Ridge and Elizabeth battled in a pitchers’ duel featuring a combined 23 strikeouts and just four hits.
And although Elizabeth’s starting pitcher Tyler Richardson gave Palmer Ridge trouble through seven innings, the Bears relied on their strong bullpen to close out a close 2-1 win in Saturday morning’s opening matchup.
Palmer Ridge starter Charlie Deeds used his immense speed to knock Elizabeth on its heels early on, striking out seven through his first 11 at-bats, and putting up a no-hit bid through 4.2 innings. He averaged just 4.1 pitches per batter faced.
Deeds finished his outing after five innings, striking out nine along the way. But it was Bridger Havens and JC Watne who dazzled in the final two innings, stranding two runners on each to preserve Palmer Ridge’s narrow lead.
Havens struck out three, and Watne fanned two.
Elizabeth took a one-run lead in the top of the fourth inning as Casey Berndt hit a laser down the third-base line to score Kanye Weidenbacher. And although Palmer Ridge looked to get it back in the bottom of the inning thanks to a double by Gabe Halaby, Richardson struck out the side.
But a leadoff walk and a stolen base by Jack Flynn put the Bears back in scoring position in the bottom of the fifth with designated hitter Gabe Rogers up to bat.
Rogers hopped a grounder past second to score Flynn.
Ben Kleinsmith played hero in the next inning, smacking an RBI double to center for the eventual game-winning run, to score Havens.