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By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

They certainly had their chances.

An up-and-down baseball season for Mullen ended in up-and-down fashion on Saturday in Broomfield. The Mustangs dropped a 3-2 first-round decision to host Legacy in the Class 5A playoffs.

Mullen, one of four programs to make the final weekend of play in the double-elimination format a year ago, ended 10-10 and probably will have a bit of what-if wondering.

The potential tying run was left on third base.

“We had opportunities and we had opportunities to put them down and keep them down,” coach Vince Porreco said. “You know, baseball’s about timely hitting. You can only have five hits, but you can score five or six runs.”

The inability to put teams away, notably through a lack of offense, was a relevant constant.  “It kind of plagued us all year, some timely hitting,” Porreco said. “Otherwise our record would be better. This was one of the strongest teams and we just didn’t put it together. I think we could have made some noise like we did last year.”


All told, the Mustangs stranded seven runners, hit into two double plays – one with one out and the bases loaded in the first inning – and managed just six hits, five of them between starter and loser Joey Salvato and third baseman Rocco Porreco.

However, Salvato only allowed five hits and the Mustangs were guilty of four errors, one right before a two-run home run in the fourth inning by Legacy cleanup hitter D.J. Daugherty. Mullen responded to tie it in the top of the fifth on back-to-back doubles by Salvato and Porreco, but the Lightning responded in its half-inning on a single, a sacrifice, a wild pitch and a passed ball to retake the lead.

However, when the Mustangs got a break to open the seventh as pinch hitter Brennen Nolte was hit by a pitch and a courtesy runner made second on a sacrifice and third on a balk, Legacy reliever Josh Kelnhofer fanned Salvato and Porreco to end it.

“We had some tough breaks,” the younger Porreco said, “but that’s the way the ball rolls some times.”


Coach Porreco, who completed his 11th season in command of Mullen, said, “we weren’t able to push anything across, but that’s baseball. You have to play all seven innings. I’m proud of these kids. That’s why coach. I’m in it so they’re prepared for more than baseball when they leave Mullen. It’s about the relationships that you build with them. I’ve taken them as their second father, I’m with them a lot. It’s a year-long thing, they’re like my kids.”

Brighton beat Pine Creek 5-2 in the second game and Legacy took out brighton 12-5 to make next Friday’s beginning of the 5A Championship Series, double elimination.



Mullen 100 010 0 – 2 6 4

Legacy 000 210 x – 3 5 0

Mullen – M. Salvato 2b 3-0-0-0, J. Salvato p-ss 4-2-2-0, Porreco 3b 4-0-3-1, Barr ss 3-0-0-0, Haen dh 2-0-0-1, Salas c 3-0-1-0, Lobo-Lucio rf 3-0-0-0, Burke 1b 2-0-0-0, Bielat cf 1-0-0-0, Elges lf 0-0-0-0, Parris p 0-0-0-0, Nolte ph 0-0-0-0. Totals 25-2-6-2.

Legacy – Jo. Coogan lf 2-0-0-0, Deaville 2b 3-0-1-0, Smith rf 3-1-1-0, Daugherty 3b-2b 2-1-1-2, Overboe 1b 3-0-0-0, O’Connor 2-0-0-0, McAninch dh 2-0-1-0, Ja. Coogan c 2-0-0-0, Kelnhofer ss-p 2-0-1-0, Labuda cr 0-1-0-0, Chamberlain p 0-0-0-0. Totals 21-3-5-2.

E – Kelnhofer, J. Salvato, Salas, Barr. LOB – Mullen 7, Legacy 3. SAC – Jo. Coogan. DP – Legacy 2, Mullen. SB – Smith. CS – Deaville, Jo. Coogan, O’Connor. 2B – Salas, J. Salvato, Porreco. HR – Daugherty, one on in fourth.

Batteries – J. Salvato, Parris (6) and Salas; Chamberlain, Kelnhofer (6) and Ja. Coogan. W -- Chamberlain. L – J. Salvato. S – Kelnhofer. WP – Chamberlain, J. Salvato, Parris. PB – Salas. T – 2:08.




Region 1 At Cherry Creek H.S.

Cherry Creek 9, Chatfield 2

ThunderRidge 6, Bear Creek 3

Cherry Creek 3, ThunderRidge 0


Region 2 at Legacy H.S.

Legacy 3, Mullen 2

Brighton 5, Pine Creek 2

Legacy 12, Brighton 5


Region 3 at Rocky Mountain H.S.

Rocky Mountain 16, Abraham Lincoln 0

Denver East 10, Denver East 3

Rocky Mountain 10, Denver East 3


Region 4 at Rock Canyon H.S.

Rock Canyon 8, Grandview 1

Heritage 5, Grand Junction 1

Rock Canyon 13, Heritage 6


Region 5 at Legend H.S.

Legend 10, Pomona 0

Central (G.J.) 3, Fairview 1

Legend 13, Central (G.J.) 3


Region 6 at Regis Jesuit H.S.

Regis Jesuit 4, Loveland 1

Broomfield 6, Arapahoe 4

Broomfield 14, Regis Jesuit 4


Region 7 at Mountain Vista H.S.

Mountain Vista 8, Coronado 2

Ralston Valley 4, Fruita Monument 2

Mountain Vista 2, Ralston Valley 0


Region 8 at Mountain Range H.S.

Dakota Ridge 5, Mountan Range 0

Highlands Ranch 17, Eaglecrest 7

Dakota Ridge 8, Highlands Ranch 3


Post Season Preview

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist


Familiarity and the unknown.

Is there anything else in elimination baseball at the end of a season?

Mullen has the opportunity for both on Saturday, when it will travel to Broomfield to begin the 2017 Class 5A playoffs. The Mustangs will take on host Legacy in Region 2. First pitch will be at 10 a.m. The Pine Creek-Brighton game will follow at 12:30 p.m., then the two winners will meet at 3 p.m. for the right to advance to the 5A Championship Series, which offers double-elimination play for eight survivors of the 32 big-school programs alive into this weekend.

The No. 25 seed, the Mustangs enter the playoffs 10-9 and feeling upbeat. They know they started the season slowly, but have shown various areas of improvement, and now’s the time to implement them.


“You know, we played better late and, obviously, we didn’t finish as well as we would have liked, but we have an opportunity to make some noise,” coach Vince Porreco said during Wednesday’s practice. “The seeding is the seeding. Anyone can be beaten on a given day. You only hope you’re peaking at the right time and getting hot at the right time.

“It’s great, one game at a time.”


And the one game will be against Legacy (14-5), which the Mustangs downed 5-4 on March 25 for their first victory of the season. They had started 0-3 and were outscored by a combined 32-7. (The other first-rounder should be interesting in that Pine Creek has regularly owned the Colorado Springs area and Brighton is trying to draw believers after walking through the East Metro Athletic Conference.)

By winning 10 of its final 16 games, Mullen, which made the final four a year ago, finally settled in and won five of its six regular-season games. “I think midseason on, we started pitching a lot better,” Porreco said. “The first half we were giving up half of our runs in the first two innings, then you had to battle back. And our hitting the last three to four games improved.”


The Mustangs have put up 24 runs over their most-recent 14 innings, which should matter in a regional group that arguably is themost-competitive of the eight.

“There’s a lot of talent in that bracket and I think we have our work cut out for us,” Mustangs senior shortstop Joey Salvato, who’s headed to Coastal Carolina, said. “And I think we’re an overlooked 25 seed.”

Said Mustangs senior corner infielder Rocco Porreco: “We’ve played Legacy already and we’ve got to be ready for (the Lightning) … we’re confident.”


Justice Lobo-Lucio heads Mullen in batting average (.349). Rocco Porreco tops the Mustangs in RBIs (16) with Jake Barr (15) right behind. Barr also has two of the Mustangs’ modest five home runs.

On the mound, sophomore Clayton Burke (4-4) and Reggie Parris (3-2) have accounted for most of the Mustangs’ decisions.


A season that began roughly now has the opportunity to finish strongly.

“All in all,” Salvato said, “we started off really bad. For sure, we’re confident, we can’t wait and we’re really excited.”

The younger Porreco added: “I think we’ve just grown together and that’s the most important part. We’re very excited and we got a taste of it last year.”



Region 1 At Cherry Creek H.S.

Chatfield (9-10) vs. Cherry Creek (14-5), 10 a.m.

ThunderRidge (10-9) vs. Bear Creek (12-7), 12:30 p.m.

Winners, 3 p.m.


Region 2 at Legacy H.S.

Mullen (10-9) vs. Legacy (14-5), 10 a.m.

Pine Creek (13-6) vs. Brighton (16-3), 12:30 p.m.

Winners, 3 p.m.


Region 3 at Rocky Mountain H.S.

Abraham Lincoln (12-7) vs. Rocky Mountain (14-5), 10 a.m.

Denver East (13-6) vs. Douglas County (12-7), 12:30 a.m.

Winners, 3 p.m.


Region 4 at Rock Canyon H.S.

Grandview (9-10) vs. Rock Canyon (13-6), 12:30 p.m.

Grand Junction (11-8) vs. Heritage (12-7), 10 a.m.

Winners, 3 p.m.


Region 5 at Legend H.S.

Pomona (10-9) vs. Legend (14-5), 10 a.m.

Fairview (12-7) vs. Central (G.J.) (12-7), 12:30 p.m.

Winners, 3 p.m.


Region 6 at Regis Jesuit H.S.

Loveland (10-9) vs. Regis Jesuit (14-5), 12:30 p.m.

Arapahoe (11-8) vs. Broomfield (14-5), 10 a.m.

Winners, 3 p.m.


Region 7 at Mountain Vista H.S.

Coronado (13-6) vs. Mountain Vista (14-5), 12:30 p.m.

Ralston Valley (11-8) vs. Fruita Monument (13-6), 10 a.m.

Winners, 3 p.m.


Region 8 at Mountain Range H.S.

Dakota Ridge (10-9) vs. Mountain Range (16-3), 10 a.m.

Highlands Ranch (10-9) vs. Eaglecrest (15-4), 12:30 p.m.

Winners, 3 p.m.

Baseball Roundup


By Neil H. Devlin

It was something with almost a little bit of everything.

After 2 hours, 58 minutes, along with a combined two interference calls that went against the host, four hit batters, only one extra-base hit, 15 runs, five errors, six pitchers, two double plays, 16 stranded runners, two bases loaded walks and a balk in what amounted to a game in the first Centennial League season-ending tournament, Mullen ultimately outlasted Grandview.

The Mustangs handled the Wolves 11-4 on Thursday in Southeastern Aurora in the so-called Centennial Challenge and improved to 9-9 overall by scoring all of their runs over the final three innings. Sitting at No. 30 in the Class 5A RPI – 32 teams will play in next week’s districts – before Thursday’s first pitch, it probably was a must-have victory. They will meet Overland at Bill Swift Fied on Saturday in what will be another need-to-win situation, if potentially only for improved seeding.

But Thursday’s entertainment on a pleasant spring day following the mix of snow, sleet, rain and cold couldn’t be missed.  “It was crazy,” Mullen senior Rocco Porreco said.  It was. Basically, the Mustangs fell behind 3-0, rallied to take a 5-3 lead, then tacked on more as Grandview, now 8-10, aided the cause by imploding a bit. Either way, Mullen will take it. Gladly. Responding to a three-run deficit with a five-run fifth inning wiped out any notion of being deflated.

“Yeah, it was a big turning point for us,” coach Vince Porreco said, “and for us, we needed that because the last three or four games we weren’t hitting.”The Mustangs had scored just a combined 10 runs over their previous four games, including getting shut out on Tuesday against Arapahoe.  “Then we started playing some small ball,” coach Porreco said, “and it got contagious. Hitting is contagious …it just built up for us.”

Grandview starter and loser Preston Ederhoff didn’t allow a Mustangs hit through four innings and retired 12 of 13 hitters. However, Mullen broke out in a big way. A walk to Stacio Salas, a balk, a single by Henry Haen, a wild pitch, a run-scoring single by Cole Elges, the first of two Grandview errors, a bunt single by Joey Salvato and an RBI safety by Marcus Salvato tied it at 3. Rocco Porreco followed with a two-run single to give Mullen the lead it never relinquished.

“It was definitely pretty big,” the first baseman said, “but it didn’t start with me. It started with the guys ahead of me getting on base. We just got the job done. ”Mullen tacked on two more in the sixth, topped by an error, a wild pitch and an RBI single by Jake Bielat. Four more followed an inning later, notably with Bielat’s two-run single that all but put it out of reach.

“This one and Saturday’s are the big ones,” coach Porreco said. “You can’t rely on anyone else.” Mullen starter Clayton Burke, a sophomore, only got roughed up briefly through five innings and was strong in his final outing in protecting the lead. “I got into a few situations, but my infielders got me out of it,” he said. “The bats got going. I knew we’d get it done.” Reggie Parris pitched the last two innings for the Mustangs and survived three walks and two singles. Bielat and Hahn each had two hits.Coach Porreco, in wondering how he could state it correctly and realistically, is convinced that “this team, depending on where we’re at (in the district seeding), will be much better than where we’re at.”

In other words, the Mustangs will get a lower seed, but it may not necessarily reflect their current level of play.  As for Thursday’s victory, it was an enjoyable outing. “It was lots of fun to play in,” the younger Porreco said.


Mullen 000 052 4 – 11 9 3

Grandview 003 001 0 – 4 5 2

Mullen – J. Salvato ss 5-1-1-0, M. Salvato 2b 3-0-1-1, Porreco 1b 3-1-1-2, Barr 3b 4-1-1-0, Salas c 2-0-0-0, Karr cr 0-1-0-0, Lobo-Lucio rf 3-2-0-1, Haen dh 3-2-2-1, Stone cr 0-1-0-0, Elges 2b 4-1-1-1, Bielat cf 4-1-2-3, Burke p 0-0-0-0, Parris p 0-0-0-0. Totals 31-11-9-9.

Grandview – Vanzee 3b 3-1-1-1, Gipson lf 3-0-0-0, Hays c 3-1-2-2, Crader dh 4-0-0-0, Mandrell 1b 3-0-0-0, Armitage rf 2-0-1-0, Laflam cf 4-0-1-0, 3-0-1-0, Stang ph 1-0-0-0, Miller ss 3-0-0-0, Goldy ph 1-0-0-0, Smith 2b 1-2-0-0, Ederhoff p 0-0-0-0, Foegen p 0-0-0-0, Vigil p 0-0-0-0, Walker p 0-0-0-0.

E – J. Salvato, Burke 2, Miller 2. DP – Mullen, Grandview. LOB – Mullen 5, Grandview 11. SB – Hays, Smith 2. CS -- Mandrell. 2B -- Vanzee.

Batteries – Burke, Parris (6) and Salas; Ederhoff, Foegen (5), Vigil (6), Walker (7) and Hays. W -- Burke. L -- Ederhoff. HBP – Smith (by Burke), Armitage (by Burke), Porreco (by Vigil), Salas (by Vigil). PB – Salas 2. WP – Burke, Ederhoff, Foegen. Balk – Ederhoff. T – 2:58.



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