Generally speaking, teams that win less than a third of their regular-season games don’t advance to the state finals.
Thanks to an improbable postseason run however, the Dove Creek High School baseball team will play for a state title this week.
Bulldogs defeat Peetz in quarterfinals
Opening up last week with a quarterfinals matchup against Peetz High School in Denver on May 10, the Bulldogs fell behind early before storming back to win, 9-7.
After the game remained scoreless through the first two innings, Bulldogs starting pitcher Colin Hobbs ran into trouble in the third, yielding four runs.
Although Dove Creek relief pitcher Tyson Smith was able to limit the damage in the third inning, Peetz scored two more in the top of the fourth to pull ahead 6-1.
From that point on, it was all Bulldogs. Dove Creek scored five runs in the fourth inning, two runs in the fifth inning, and one run in the sixth inning to pull ahead 9-6.
Keying the Bulldogs’ offense, cleanup hitter Ale Ogas recorded two hits and drove in one run.
“We fought back,” said Bulldogs manager Curtis Garver. “We got some momentum going, and we never gave up.”
Although the Bulldogs allowed one run in the bottom of the seventh, Smith finished strong, preserving Dove Creek’s 9-7 victory.
Bulldogs win shootout over Eads
Playing in the semifinals later in the day on May 10, the Bulldogs came from behind for the second consecutive time, beating Eads High School 23-18 to advance to the state finals.
Enjoying a career day at the plate for the Bulldogs was Tyson Smith, who finished with three hits, one home run and seven RBIs.
Smith’s bat proved to be especially vital during the fifth inning, which saw the Bulldogs score eight runs and turn a 17-9 deficit into a 17-17 tie.
Starring on the mound for the Bulldogs was Larissa Martin, who allowed two earned runs over 1 2/3 innings to keep the game close.
Inspired by Martin’s strong pitching, the Bulldogs’ offense came alive in the sixth inning, scoring five runs in the frame in route to victory.
Thanks to their big win, Dove Creek moves on to the state finals against Caliche High School. The game will take place in Lakewood on May 15.
“We’re just going to keep riding this all the way to the end,” said Garver. “We’re playing our best baseball right now, which is good.”
With any luck, the good times will continue for the Bulldogs as they look to bring a Class 1A state championship back to Dove Creek.