Montrose has high hopes for state playoffs
One sign a high school baseball program is gaining interest could be when fans line up in rows, reclining on lawn chairs, to watch a district tournament.
That’s how Montrose coach Landon Wareham remembers the scene at Montrose High School last weekend when the Indians beat Pueblo West 6-5 in the Class 4A District 6 championship and Glenwood Springs 6-0 in the first round on a no-hitter by Tyrus Lopez.
As they attempt to make a run through the Class 4A state playoffs beginning Friday, the Indians have stacked the local hype.
“Our bleachers were full, and there were at least five rows of people lying down in lawn chairs,” Wareham said. “I bet there were 1,000 to 1,200 fans there. I’ve never seen a crowd like that here for a baseball game. Even in 2010.”
Like in 2010 when it finished in fifth place, Montrose is back in the state playoffs. The No. 7 Indians (18-3) play No. 2 Broomfield (17-4) at 12:30 p.m. Friday at Cherokee Trail High School in Denver.
If Montrose wins, the Indians play the winner between No. 3 D’Evelyn and No. 6 Longmont at 3 p.m. Friday. If the Indians lose, they play the loser between D’Evelyn and Longmont at 10 a.m. Saturday in the double-elimination tournament.
Even with one loss, teams can bounce back through a consolation bracket and make the state final.
The Indians will put Lopez on the mound against Broomfield, Wareham said.
Montrose has been in the final 16 the past four seasons.
Wareham said teams that make runs at this stage are best at handling pressure.
“This group has done a good job of that,” he said.
And few coaches know who’s who at Montrose, which does not post statistics to MaxPreps.com.
“I know the Pueblo West coach called seven different coaches (before districts) trying to find info on us,” Wareham said. “We looked at MaxPreps and looked at all his kids. We like to sneak under the radar.”
In the Class 3A state double-elimination tournament, No. 4 Olathe (16-5) will face No. 5 Trinidad (14-7) on Friday at Butch Butler Field in Greeley. Olathe, with a win, would play at 3 p.m. the same day against No. 3 Weld Central or No. 6 Brush.
Olathe has won seven straight games.
Willy Corey is batting .508 in 65 at-bats for Olathe. He has four doubles, six triples, three home runs and 30 RBI.
Corey is 7-0 with an 0.84 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 50 innings pitched.
Paonia is in the Class 2A state semifinals and plays Resurrection Christian at 2:30 p.m. Friday at Englewood High School in Denver.
To get there, the No. 7 Eagles (15-5-1) beat Sargent 5-4 in eight innings and Las Animas 2-1.
Paonia has a pair of players batting above .500 — Tyler Kendall is hitting .508 with five home runs and 35 RBI, and KC Christian is hitting .500 with 13 doubles.