Motivated ‘Dogs: Palisade doesn’t fret over being in same bracket as No. 1 seed
Palisade High School’s baseball team isn’t a group that needs extra motivation.
After winning the Western Slope League, the Bulldogs were given the No. 17 seed and take on No. 16 Cheyenne Mountain at 12:30 today in the District 1 tournament. With a win, Palisade hopes to square off with the No. 1 seed and host Mountain View.
“We were picked to finish third or fourth in the league, so I think we were always looking for respect,” Palisade coach Steve Moore said. “These guys have such a great never-say-die attitude.”
Palisade has a knack for making opposing teams pay for letting the Bulldogs hang around in games. You don’t have to look much further than the regular-season finale against Delta, when the Bulldogs erased an 8-2 deficit, scoring eight runs in the bottom of the sixth inning for a 10-8 victory.
“Our guys have been tough all year,” Moore said. “I’m most proud of their grit and willingness to battle to the last out.”
For a team that has never taken the easy way out, the state baseball committee might have done Palisade a favor by putting it in the same district as the top-seeded team in the state. The Bulldogs are focused on getting past Cheyenne Mountain, but can’t help but lick their chops at the chance to take on Mountain View, which has won 18 games this season.
“We aren’t intimidated by too much, and we want to see just how good these teams are,” Palisade shortstop Mike Seriani said. “Our team has a lot of heart, and we’ll never give up.”
Palisade finished the regular season 14-5, 11-3 in the WSL, the second time in three years the Bulldogs won the league.
“We have only three seniors but they’ve done a great job of bringing everyone together,” Moore said.
The Bulldogs’ three seniors are Seriani, who has a .456 batting average, Jordan Salazar, who has 27 RBI, and first baseman Drew Clinkenbeard, who has a 97.92 fielding percentage at first base.
Those three, along with sophomore Cole Cummins (.476 batting average, 11 stolen bases), and junior Cody Krabbe, the Bulldogs’ No. 1 pitcher this season, have turned Palisade into a well-rounded team.
Seriani, who has a 5-1 record on the mound, said the Bulldogs play well together on and off the field.
“It doesn’t end once we leave the field, we all get along off the field as well,” Seriani said. “On weekends we don’t go our separate ways, we’ll be here as a team playing home run derby or doing something.”
The team chemistry, mixed with the Bulldogs’ talent, should give them an opportunity to be competitive today.
“You have to win all the games to win the championship,” Moore said. “We are going to play one game at a time, and baseball is a funny game, so you never know.”