DENVER | An Aurora program will be in the catbird’s seat in the Class 5A Baseball Championship Series next weekend, the only question will be which one.
The city’s two representatives in the eight-team, double-elimination tournament — Grandview and Regis Jesuit — both went 2-0 Friday and sit together atop the winner’s bracket going into a 2:30 p.m. matchup Saturday at All-City Stadium.
With their two victories, both Grandview (19-8) and Regis Jesuit (22-5) have earned spots in the Final Four beginning May 31 despite the outcome of their contest, but obviously both would like to go into the final weekend without a blemish.
“It would be huge to win (Saturday) and give yourself the best position going into last weekend where you can play around a little with your rotation,” said Grandview coach Scott Henry, whose team is now on a 16-game winning streak.
“I talked to a lot of coaches tonight asking their advice for tomorrow and all of them said it’s a really big one to go into that last weekend undefeated,” he added. “We’re looking forward to that challenge.”
The Wolves continued their run as the hottest team in 5A as they punctuated their first trip to the Championship Series since 2016 with a pair of victories, highlighted by a 7-6 upset of Mountain Vista, the defending state champion and owner of 20-game winning streak. Senior Josh Hojnowski’s seventh-inning two-run home run provided the difference.
Grandview also won its opener behind a complete game effort from senior starting pitcher Peter Goldy, who also drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning. Senior Amari Smith collected the other three RBI for the Wolves.
Coach Matt Darr’s Regis Jesuit team is on a nine-game winning streak of its own, which includes Championship Series victories over Chaparral (7-0) and Cherry Creek (6-3), which they picked up in back-to-back contests at All-Star Park in Lakewood.
Senior Patrick Strawbridge and junior Chase Allen soaked up some important innings for the Raiders with quality pitching performances in those two contests.
“Obviously we’re thrilled to advance to the next weekend, we guaranteed that at this point,” Darr said. “Grandview is obviously playing great right now. I think they’ve won 16 games in a row or something crazy like that. We played them earlier in the year and beat them in extra innings, so I expect a battle like that tomorrow.
“It’s nice to be undefeated at this point.”
Both coaches anticipate a tight, low-scoring contest like the one the Aurora programs played back in April 8 at Grandview, which Regis Jesuit won 3-2 in nine innings.
The Wolves and Raiders combined for just eight hits in that contest.
“They have a heck of a pitching staff,” Henry said of Regis Jesuit. “Even though its Game Three, they will have somebody who is going to compete on the mound. I would think it’s going to be a low-scoring game and hopefully we can keep finding a way to score just one more run than the other guys.”
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports