Merino baseball is on its way to the final four.
After earning the No. 2 seed and subsequent farewell to the Class 1A regional baseball tournament, the framework had to take on the No. 10 Dayspring Christian Academy, which defeated No. 7 Caliche earlier in the day with a 7-2 final.
All the record production that the Eagles saw in the first game seemed to dry out in the second, as the Aries easily took them out of contention with a 9-2 finish. On the way to victory, Merino’s pitching staff hit 10 strokes and gave up only two earned races and five trips.
“We have been consistent from the mound most of the year, allowing everyone on the team to relax and play baseball when they know our pitchers are going to do their job,” said head coach Logan Tharp. “We have a great group of boys who always have each other’s backs, and team dynamics are what make this team fun to be a part of.”
With the regionals behind him, the Rams must now focus on the state tournament. With only four teams left – Merino, Holly, Nucla and Flatirons Academy – the Rams do not have much room for error if they want to win the whole thing.
Now they have to turn their eyes to No. 3 Holly for a midday match at University High School. The Rams (17-1) must focus on what they do best – pitching – to curb the fiery wildcat law (211 runs) to keep Holly in check. They must try to earn races when they can, as Holly’s mounds have also been solid with only 42 races allowed.
Tharp believes his boys have the talent to get the job done.
“It’s great for our kids to play tough games like this. We will run on some tough teams here on Wednesday, and games that today help us fine-tune things and know what we need to work on to gradually build and get better for the teams we will face, “said Tharp. “What can be challenging is to make the boys understand that even though it’s the last four of the state, it’s just another baseball game, and they’s fully capable of doing anything if they have the right mindset and mentality to get it done. “