PUEBLO - Every game needs a hero.
For Peyton in the Class 2A semifinal game Saturday against Hotchkiss - it was Rupert Shaw.
Shaw helped punch Peyton’s ticket to the state championship game with a 4-3 win over the Bulldogs with solid work on the mound and at the plate.
Tied 3-3 heading into the top of the seventh inning, Shaw came in on the mound in relief for Rodney Gregg with one job to do - keep runners off the board.
But a leadoff single and two walks loaded the bases for Shaw with just one out.
“I knew I had to do something and then once I let the bases get loaded, then I really knew I needed to do something,” Shaw said. “It definitely motivates you. In my mind I was like, I can’t let this happen, I can’t be the one to lose this game for us.”
After the second walk Shaw stepped back onto the mound and struck out the next two batters to end the inning with the bases loaded.
“You could tell that when he came in to pitch he was a little nervous but when he got out there he settled down,” Peyton coach Kelly Nickell said.
Moments later, Shaw found himself in another big moment as he stepped up to the plate with runners on first and second in the bottom of the seventh.
Shaw hit a grounder to center and barely made it to first base before celebrating - they were headed to the title game.
“Getting that final strikeout was amazing, pure bliss, and it was the same after that hit,” Shaw said. “I was told 'there's nobody better,' and I got it done. I guess today was just business as usual.”
“He’s been our RBI guy all year,” Nickell said. “He leads our team with RBIs, and I don’t think it’s even close. With runners on he’s been big for us all year.”