The Buena Vista Baseball Demons (12-4) entered the postseason as the Class 2A No. 7 seed in the 2021 CHSAA State Baseball Championships.

Demons played six games last week, starting with a doubleheader sweep of the Manitou Springs Mustangs 14-1, and 8-7, and ended with a 10-run rule victory 21-1 over visiting Dolores Huerta Prep in the final regular season home contest Saturday. Sandwiched in between were losses to Gunnison 10-3, La Junta 16-10 and Manitou Springs 14-2.

In the opening game of the doubleheader against Manitou Springs June 7, Jake Duncan threw a one-hitter and held the Mustangs to only one run.

The Demon bats came to life in the third inning after falling behind 1-0. They pushed enough runs across the plate over the next four innings to win the game in a six-inning 10-run rule affair.

“Jake Duncan had his best game of the season so far on the mound,” Demons coach Greg Perrin said. “He threw the ball well and changed speeds effectively.

“We did a good job up and down the lineup, led by Cole Reavis who added the clinching hit to shorten the game in the sixth,” said the skipper.

The second game got off to a rough start for the host team when they gave up five runs in the top half of the first. They did answer the bell a bit when they plated two of their own in the bottom half.

Trailing 7-2 after three innings, the Demons mounted a comeback, pushing across six in the fifth inning to regain the lead 8-7. Hitters up and down the lineup contributed while the team had eight hits for the game. Cole Reavis was the only one to have multiple knocks with two.

Nathan Dages came off the bench with a key base hit to keep the scoring going in the pivotal fifth.

“That was really a great win,” said Perrin. “Haden Camp was not as sharp as he had been, allowing Manitou to jump out on us, but then we really battled back. I am really proud of our guys,” Perrin said. “Zandon Mitchell came on and shut down Manitou the last two innings.”

The victory secured the Tri-Peaks League West title for the Demons. “That is the first time we have swept Manitou in a doubleheader in the time that I have been the head coach,” said Perrin.

The victory also secured home field for the Demons with the Tri-Peaks West title winner getting to play the league crossover games at home for the top two teams from each side June 10.

There was a little work left before the Thursday contests. The Demons had a road trip to Gunnison on the schedule for Wednesday, June 9. Gunnison is having a good season sitting at the top of the Western Slope League.

With the upcoming league cross-over championship set, the Demons would need to piece together a game with their pitching staff that would leave their top throwers rested with enough pitches under the limitations to throw on Thursday. Gunnison would send their ace to the mound.

Seth Moss drew the start and threw a strong first three innings, while the Demons built a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the fourth.

The Demons gave up a 7-run inning in the fourth and could not overcome the lead against the No. 5-ranked team in 3A.

Danny Martin, Duncan and Quinn Philips contributed the only three hits for BV.

Buena Vista drew the hot bats of the La Junta Tigers to get the day started Thursday. The visitors were able to post 12 hits and push 10 runs across the plate against the staff ace Duncan.

“Jake battled, but it was clear he did not have a lot left in the tank after a great effort on Monday,” Perrin said.

“I was proud, again, of how well the guys battled even though we spotted them seven,” Perrin said. “We stormed back to tie it. This group never quits.”

Tied at 7-7 after 2 innings, La Junta started rebuilding their lead in the third pushing one across to make it 8-7.

Buena Vista got leadoff hitter Cole Reavis to third with no outs in their half of the third but could not get the run across the plate.

Following a scoreless fourth, the Tigers added six more runs in the top of the fifth. Buena Vista continued to battle, squaring up many balls hit right at the Tiger fielders en route to a 16-10 Tigers win.

The loss meant that Buena Vista would draw the loser of the Lamar-Manitou Springs matchup in the twilight game. It turned out to be Manitou when Lamar handled them 9-5.

The game for third place would be a rematch of the teams who had played twice on Monday. This time the Demons seemed to be at the bottom of their tank of fuel and could not get it going one more time.

“We picked a poor day to put together our worst effort of the season. We did not play well in any phase of the game and got run out of this one,” said a disappointed Perrin. “It is hard to beat a team three times in a season, let alone a week, and you surely won’t do it if you don’t play well.”

The team rebounded on senior day Saturday when they hosted Dolores Huerta, needing a win to leave themselves with the highest RPI rank possible for the regional seeding and a home game. They did what was needed with a 21-1 win.

“It was a nice bounce-back game before regionals,” said Perrin, “a really great way to send out our seniors and especially pitcher Nathan Dages, whose work was limited all season with an arm injury.”

Dages did get to throw two innings in the game for his first game work of the year. “He did a great job, and it was a really great thing to see Nathan get to do that, special for him,” said Perrin.

The state tourney seeding for Class 2A was released on June 13 and the Demons received the No. 7-seed. The bracket had Buena Vista hosting a region in quadrant three of the bracket.

Wiggins, the 10-seed, beat No. 23 Sargent 11-1 Tuesday, and Buena Vista beat Wiggins 14-6 later that day. The Demons scored 7 runs in the second and sixth innings to advance to the quarterfinals of the state tourney Saturday, June 19 at the Runyon Complex in Pueblo. The state championship game will be played one week later at the same site.

The No. 7 Demons (13-4) get the early brunch game against No. 2 seed Highland (16-0) at 9:30 a.m., Saturday.

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