Players from the Cherokee Trail baseball team jump over the fence in celebration after teammate Tommy Munch hit a home run in the sixth inning of the Cougars’ 12-8 Class 5A Baseball Championship Series win over Broomfield on June 3, 2022, at All-City Stadium. Cherokee Trail advanced to the final day of the double-elimination tournament needing two wins to take the state title. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

DENVER | The brief silence after the ball left Tommy Munch’s bat Friday was broken by the cacophony a short time later when it landed over the fence at All-City Stadium.

The junior first baseman’s first career home run led off the sixth inning for Cherokee Trail in its Class 5A Baseball Championship Series contest with Broomfield and it touched off the fourth multiple-run rally for the Cougars, who went on to win 12-8.

Munch’s blast was a memorable part of a 13-hit attack for seventh-seeded Cherokee Trail, which also got the second complete game effort of the tournament from senior right-handed pitcher Tyler Wilcox as it dealt the fifth-seeded Eagles their first loss of the double-elimination tournament.

Cherokee Trail junior Tommy Munch nears home plate after his solo home run in the sixth inning of the Cougars’ 12-8 win over Broomfield in the Class 5A Baseball Championship Series on June 3, 2022, at All-City Stadium. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

“It was such a surreal moment, as soon as I hit it, I knew it was gone,” Munch said. “It was amazing. Final Four, first home run, unbelievable…In the moment, it was just perfect.”

Cherokee Trail followed up a 2-1 opening weekend of the Championship Series with another quality win against a Broomfield team that used three pitchers, but held back its top arms as it knew it was guaranteed a spot in the 1:30 p.m. Saturday state championship game despite the result after winning three games last week.

Coach Jon DiGiorgio’s Cougars could very well see the Eagles again in that game if they can win an 11 a.m. contest against No. 2 Legacy, which eliminated No. 3 Chaparral with a 4-3 win Friday. Cherokee Trail defeated the Lightning 6-2 May 27 in the opening game of the tournament for both programs, while Legacy won a regular season meeting between the teams.

One more win would put the Cherokee Trail program in the state championship game for the third time. The Cougars won the 5A state title in 2016 as they defeated Rocky Mountain, while they downed Thomas Jefferson to take the 4A crown in 2007.

Cherokee Trail will have to go the next game or two pretty much without Wilcox, their ace who threw 97 pitches to help his team reach the final day. In his seventh complete game of the season — and third in a row — Wilcox scattered 10 hits and gave up a season-high eight runs (though four of them came in the final inning with the game well in hand).

Most importantly, he allowed DiGiorgio to keep every other available arm in play.

Senior right-hander Tyler Wilcox pitched his second complete game in as many starts in the Class 5A Baseball Championship Series as he threw seven innings in the Cougars’ 12-8 win over Broomfield on June 3, 2022, at All-City Stadium. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

“I’m feeling good, we were able to save our arms for tomorrow,” Wilcox said. “Honestly, I was just hoping they would hit it right at my guys and they would make plays. I knew they were going to hit the ball, they are a really good team.”

Munch’s home run was something of an anomaly for a Cherokee Trail team that relies on speed, hustle and key situational hits and that was again the way it built a good-sized early lead over Broomfield.

The Cougars put up two runs right away against Eagles starter Bailey Smith, then rallied for four more in the bottom of the second inning to knock him out of the game.

Senior Coby Austin picked up the first RBI of the second inning, while senior Brett Barber made it 4-0 with a triple to score senior Kaelen Bing. Sophomore Braeden Reichert and junior Bowen Tabola followed with run-scoring singles to stake Wilcox to a good lead.

Broomfield scored the next four runs of the game to get within 6-4, before Cherokee Trail rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Austin’s bunt single loaded the bases, Bing delivered a two-run single and senior Nick Barber plated another run with a sacrifice fly.

Cherokee Trail’s Coby Austin, center) and Kaelen Bing (2) celebrate in the outfield after the final out is recorded in the Cougars’ 12-8 win over Broomfield in a Class 5A Baseball Championship Series win on June 3, 2022, at All-City Stadium in Denver. Cherokee Trail advanced to the final day of the tournament and remained in contention to win the state title. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

Senior Will Parsons followed Munch’s solo homer with a single to knock in Reichert and pinch runner Dylan Hommes (who came on after Tabola’s double) for the final runs for the Cougars, who had plenty of cushion to absorb Broomfield’s final rally.

“Tyler Wilcox came through for us again and all the guys came through,” DiGiorgio said. “Our team’s camaraderie is amazing and has been going back to our trip to Florida. They just continue to back each other up and find ways to win.

“We’re not looking past anybody. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s still one game a time. We just have to keep our energy and just get past the next one and then the next one.”

Added Wilcox: “We’re where everybody wants to be on the final day of the season.”

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports

2022 CLASS 5A BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

(7) CHEROKEE TRAIL 12, (5) BROOMFIELD 8

Score by innings (r-h-e):

Broomfield  003 100 4 —  8  10  1

Cher. Trail   240 033 x — 12  13  2

BROOMFIELD (ab-r-h-rbi)

Noah Scott ss 3-2-2-1, Dane Most 3b 4-2-2-0, Camden Ross c 4-1-2-4, Gavin Speirs 2b 4-0-0-1, Ashton Ross 1b 3-0-0-0, Ryan Anderson rf 3-1-1-1, Dylan Harris dh 3-1-1-0, Cole LaCrue lf 3-0-1-0, Jackson Bahl cf 2-1-1-0, Cole Schmidthuber ph 1-0-0-0. Totals 30-8-10-7. Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so): Bailey Smith (L, 2-6-6-6-3-2), Gunnar Pike (3-4-4-4-1-4), Luke Blackmon (1-3-2-2-0-2)

CHEROKEE TRAIL (ab-r-h-rbi)

Nick Barber cf 2-1-0-1, Brett Barber 2b 4-2-2-1, Thomas Munch 1b 2-2-1-2, Braeden Reichert ss 4-1-2-1, Bowen Tabola c 3-0-2-1, Andrew Godfrey 3b 4-1-1-0, Will Parsons dh 3-2-2-2, Coby Austin lf 4-1-2-1, Kaelen Bing 2-1-1-2, Dylan Hommes 0-1-0-0. Totals 28-12-13-11. Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so): Tyler Wilcox (W, 7-11-8-8-1-5)

2B — Broomfield: Noah Scott 2. Cherokee Trail: Brett Barber, Will Parsons, Bowen Tabola. 3B — Cherokee Trail: Brett Barber. HR — Broomfield: Ryan Anderson (solo in 4th), Camden Ross (2 on in 7th). Cherokee Trail: Thomas Munch (solo in 6th)

 

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