Cowboys baseball reach the state tournament

Miraculous comeback sends team to Great Eight

The Gunnison Cowboys high school baseball team pulled off back-to-back district wins on Saturday, May 2 to qualify for the Great Eight state tournament.

 

“We knew we had a pretty good squad and our goals were to win the league and districts,” says Percival.
The Cowboys reached their first goal, winning the 3A Western Slope League with a record of 13-3. Their regular season success sent them into the postseason as the number eight seed out of 32 teams.
The Cowboys hosted St. Mary’s from Colorado Springs in the first round of postseason single elimination play on Saturday.
Percival had an idea of what lay ahead for his squad in their opening playoff game.
“We knew they had a couple good pitchers but that they had trouble throwing strikes,” says Percival.
Gunnison had a 3-2 lead going into the top of the fifth, when St. Mary’s erupted for nine runs to build an 11-3 lead.
“They just started hitting the ball,” says Percival.
St. Mary’s carried their lead into the bottom of the seventh inning but the Cowboys made the most of their last at-bat to stay alive in the post season and advance to the next round.
Capitalizing on walks and base hits, the Cowboys tied the game up 11-11, loading the bases with one out and Crested Butte player Robbie Holleran stepping to the plate.
Holleran delivered, punching a base hit, game-winning RBI through the left side of the infield for the 12-11 Cowboys win. Holleran finished the game hitting four for five, including a home run and the game-winning hit, and pitched two innings for the win.
The Cowboys faced Hotchkiss that afternoon. Gunnison beat Hotchkiss twice during the regular season and maintained their dominance with a third win on Saturday.
The Cowboys took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Hotchkiss scored in the top of the fourth but Gunnison answered with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Hotchkiss cut the Cowboys’ lead back down to one in the top of the sixth but Cowboy Riley Stuckey came in to pinch hit in the bottom of the sixth and connected for a huge two-run base hit with two outs to put the Cowboys on top 5-2.
Hotchkiss put a runner on first in the top of the seventh but the Cowboys turned a double play off a line drive to clear the bases.
Cowboy shortstop Josh Finney then sealed the win pulling in a ground ball off the grass by third base and gunning the runner out at first.
“That was probably one of the best high school plays I’ve ever seen,” says Percival.
The Cowboys will head to Greeley to face Eaton in the first round of the Great Eight state tournament on Friday, May 8 at 10 a.m. at Jackson Stadium on the University of Northern Colorado campus. Eaton is the top-seeded team in the state and comes into the tournament with a record of 20-0.
“We’re going to have to play extremely well,” says Percival. “We’ve met our goals and now I’m challenging them to reach a little further.”
If the Cowboys win, they will play again on Friday at 3 p.m. A loss sends them to the state consolation tournament game on Saturday, May 9 at 11 a.m. at Butch Butler Field in Greeley.

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