COLORADO SPRINGS — Let’s make this short and sweet, shall we.
That was ugly and not what Marc Cowell and his senior-laden bunch of Holy Family Tigers had in mind.
One week after an impressive display during the first weekend of the Class 4A double elimination tournament that saw them score 33 runs over three games, the Tigers were riding high and entered Week Two and an elimination game against top-seeded Pueblo West with high hopes.
Those hopes were quickly — really quickly — dashed on Friday morning at UCHealth Park in Colorado Springs, home of the minor league Vibes.
Pueblo West scored six times in the opening inning against Holy Family ace Weston Siefken and seven more times in the fourth and rolled to a 14-1 victory to punch their ticket to Saturday’s state title game against Silver Creek. The Cyclones (26-3) will have to beat the Raptors twice in order to win the title. Silver Creek will just have to win once by virtue of a victory over Pueblo West on the opening weekend.
“We fell behind and I felt like we had some pretty good pitches in the first inning, but we just didn’t get the calls and it put Wes into some fastball counts and that team is way to good to be in that position,” said Cowell, whose team finishes the season 22-7. “It was a deep hole and we just weren’t able to dig ourselves out of it.”
Even in defeat, Cowell was optimistic and upbeat about the future of the program. And despite the loss of 13 seniors, he is confident the Tigers will be back in the same position for years to come.
“It feels like Holy Family baseball is back,” said Cowell, whose program won Class 3A titles in 2010, 2013 and 2014 — one of the years with Eric Nakayama in command. “You get to the Final Four and you lose and we are upset and disappointed about it when most teams would be thrilled to be here.
“To me, that means our expectations are back where we want them to be. We are going to reload and get back after it next year.”
The first six hitters the Cyclones sent to the plate against Siefken, and the true sign it wasn’t going to be the Tigers day was when when three-hole hitter Jayden Cordova took a big hack and his swinging bunt went all of 20 feet for a base hit to load the bases. Brodie Blackford would deliver a two-run single to right and two hitters later the bases would be loaded again, this time for Tyler Barth. He ripped a 2-0 Siefken pitch down the right field that cleared the bases.
It appeared Siefken had settled down in the second and third innings and the Tigers might be able to chip away, but the fourth inning was more of the same. The Cyclones plated seven runs and it was Barth again, who delivered the big blow with a two-run single that would ultimately chase Siefken. Barth would finish 3-for-3 with 5 RBIs.
The bats hit the ball hard Nate Denniston, but unlike last week, they were right at people. Josh Baker had two of the five Tigers hits and Zach Becker drove in the lone run of the game in the top of the third inning.
“We hit a couple of baseball really hard right at them and they had a couple of check swings right up the line perfectly where no one was and some of it, luck wasn’t going our way,” Cowell said. “I felt if we could have gotten the momentum going, then it would have started to build, but in the first two innings we left four guys on and we just couldn’t get that key hit and we were never able to get that confidence going.”
PUEBLO WEST 14, HOLY FAMILY 1 (5)
At UC Health Park
Holy Family (22-7) 001 00 — 1 5 1
Pueblo West (26-3) 610 7x — 14 11 0
Holy Family hitting (ab-r-h-bi) — Nick McGowan 3-0-0-0, Josh Baker 3-1-2-0, Zach Becker 3-0-1-1, Collin Kringlen 1-0-0-0, Weston Siefken 0-0-0-0, Jordon McFarland 0-0-0-0, Jacob Callaway 2-0-0-0, Matthew Delgado 2-0-0-0, Emmanuel King 2-0-0-0, Connor Cooney 2-0-1-0, Davis Martinek 2-0-1-0. Totals 20-1-5-1. 2B — Becker.
Holy Family pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Siefken 3.1-9-12-9-3-1, McFarland .2-2-2-2-1-1