Senior Eric Cox and the Cherokee Trail baseball team have won three of their last four games to get into contention to make the Class 5A state postseason. At No. 35 in the latest RPI standings, the defending 5A state champions may be able to get into the top 32 based on their performance against Cherry Creek and Eaglecrest in two of their three games in the inaugural Centennial League Challenge May 2-6, 2017. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | The composition of the inaugural Centennial League Challenge is set and its outcome will be quite important.

Rather than play each other twice this season as in the past, the eight Centennial League teams opted for a three-game tournament at the end of the regular season that was seeded based on the records after one round of play.

The Centennial League Challenge runs on a 1-3-5-7 and 2-4-6-8 format in league finish, with games scheduled for May 2 and May 4 at 4:15 p.m. and May 6 at 11 a.m.

Cherry Creek and Mullen secured the league’s two automatic berths in the Class 5A state playoffs and ended up as the top two seeds into the Centennial League challenge with records of 7-0 and 4-3 in league play, respectively.

The Mustangs won a tiebreaker with two Aurora teams — Cherokee Trail and Eaglecrest — as well as Arapahoe, as all four posted 4-3 marks. For seeding purposes, the Cougars are No. 3, Warriors No. 4 and Raptors No. 5.

Grandview (3-4) is No. 6, Smoky Hill (2-5) is No. 7 and 0-7 Overland is No. 8.

The results of the tournament carry significance in terms of the postseason for several of the local teams.

Defending Class 5A state champion Cherokee Trail (6-9) is currently No. 35 in the RPI rankings and outside of the 32-team playoff field. The Cougars — winners of three of their last four games — have RPI-beneficial games against No. 1 Cherry Creek (12-3, .654 RPI) and No. 11 Eaglecrest (12-3) in addition to one against Smoky Hill. Cherokee Trail also closes out the regular season against Chatfield in a reschedule of a game postponed from Friday by weather.

Grandview (7-9) is currently clinging to a postseason spot as it sits No. 30 in RPI at .530, so the Wolves’ three games against Overland, Arapahoe and Mullen loom large, especially the latter two in regards to RPI. Grandview lost one-run games to the Warriors and Mustangs.

Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel


Tuesday, May 2 (all games at 4:15 p.m.)

Arapahoe at Mullen

Cherry Creek at Smoky Hill

Eaglecrest at Cherokee Trail

Grandview at Overland

Thursday, May 4 (all games at 4:15 p.m.)

Smoky Hill at Cherokee Trail

Cherry Creek at Eaglecrest

Arapahoe at Overland

Mullen at Grandview

Saturday, May 6 (all games at 11 a.m.)

Smoky Hill at Eaglecrest

Cherokee Trail at Cherry Creek

Grandview at Arapahoe

Overland at Mullen

Courtney Oakes is sports Editor and photographer with Sentinel Colorado. A Denver East High School alum. He came to the Sentinel in 2001 and since then has received a number of professional awards from...