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Extra baseball is here

By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
Mullen baseball will host a Class 5A Regional and is primed to challenge; the only question is when, as Colorado's fickle May weather is to make its usual appearance in late-season spring.
At last, Colorado baseball regionals are just about here.

However, with snow and cold in the forecast as well as graduation, the first rounds of postseason ball may be there … or there … or then.

One thing is official – Mullen is the No. 5 seed in Class 5A and will host Region 4. The Mustangs will begin against No. 28 Heritage. The other first-round matchup is (21) FNE Warriors vs. (12) Broomfield. Winners of both games will play for the right to advance to the 5A Championship Series and its double-elimination format.

Mustangs had coach Phil Stanford knows to have his senior-based team ready “for anything. It’s the postseason.”

Plus, he added, “the weather is the X factor. Now, it’s 90 percent chance of moisture on Friday and turning into snow on Friday night and into Saturday morning.”

Originally, Mullen had planned to play its first-rounder on Friday afternoon as Mustangs graduation is schedule for Saturday morning. But the expected wet, cold weather, which usually has significant bearing on spring championships, opens possibilities for play Friday-Sunday, Saturday-Sunday or all three games on Sunday.

“We have to be ready,” Stanford said.

The Mustangs (18-5) tied for a second consecutive Centennial League Championship and have been pointing to these rounds since they were freshmen, Stanford said.

“We’ve talked about this for a couple of years,” he said. “This is a group that has come together and had one goal in mind -- not just to get to the playoffs, but they want to win the whole thing.”

Mullen has displayed prowess and know-how in every phase of the game, from fielding to throwing, pitching to base-running and hitting to sharp eyes at the plate.

The Mustangs have a bit of everything. They have college signees – Trevor Moore, Stanford; Henry Stewart, Santa Clara; Andrew Brady, Colorado School of Mines; and Owen Marsh, St. Thomas of Minnesota. They have younger talent – sophomore catcher Ben Krza and freshman pitcher-infielder-outfielder Thomas Stewart have been regulars.

They have starting pitching – Moore, H. Stewart, Marsh and T. Stewart are a fab four of sorts. They have relief pitching – Henry Shellhorn, Aaron Fuentes, Ryan Jackson and Colin MacKenzie know how to close, finish and put out rallies.

They have pop – Brady has a ridiculous 26 extra-base hits and 27 runs batted in; Moore has five homers and 25 RBIs; and H. Stewart has 23 RBIs and 10 doubles.

Additional contributors such as Sage Hurley, Ryan Brady and Dom Gamueda have each enjoyed assorted moments with high-end contributions.

As for the rest of the regional field, Heritage (12-11) “came out of a tough (Continental) League,” Stanford said, “and competed all year long, and will be seasoned and ready to play.”

He added: “Broomfield is a team we saw before (Mullen won a roadie 10-8 on March 16) and we know is a tough team in our bracket … (the Eagles) have a pretty complete team.”

And as for the FNE Warriors, Stanford said “I don’t know much about them, but they have to be pretty good to be here.”

Bottom line, the postseason is here, the stretch a dozen seniors have been awaiting.

“This is the first step,” Stanford said.