Bulldogs blast Cotopaxi

Journal Staff Report

The Cotopaxi Pirates put two across the plate in the top of the first inning.

Things didn’t look good early on for the underdog Bulldogs in last Saturday’s District I, 1A championship in Montrose.

“The first inning, I thought, ‘Oh boy,’” said a concerned Dove Creek coach Ken Soper.

Cotopaxi came in as champions of the 1A District I league and sported a record well over .500.

That was fine with the nothing-to-lose attitude Bulldogs.

“We kept trying to tell them, that they had a pretty good record. But forget about the records,” Soper said. “I said, ‘you don’t know, they might be in a weak league. You guys played some tough teams and was in every game, except one this year. Just play your game.’ They did.”

Dove Creek scored one in the bottom of the first. The Bulldogs’ bats came alive in the second, as the offense racked up eight runs and never looked back.

Dove Creek added 14 runs in the fourth inning on the way to a convincing, 23-4 (F/5), district title win at Montrose High School.

“Our hitting won it,” Soper said. “They hit good. They seemed confident.”

The Bulldogs (6-11) move on to the 1A state tournament quarterfinals Saturday. It’s the first state tournament appearance since 2007 and the first postseason win since 2008.

Dove Creek will play the Elbert Bulldogs (8-4) at Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver. Elbert knocked off Dove Creek in the 2011 8-man football playoffs.

“It seems like it’s starting to be a rivalry between Elbert and us,” Soper said chuckling. “We know from football, they got some good athletes.”

Although the 2012 battle of the Bulldogs will be in a different sport, that doesn’t mean Soper’s athletes, whom also played football for him in the fall, haven’t forgotten the 32-6 loss to Elbert.

“I’m sure the kids will want to get revenge,” Soper said. “I’m sure that will be in the back of everyone’s mind, is trying to get even with them.”

As a team, Dove Creek piled up 19 Runs Batted In off of 16 hits against Cotopaxi (12-6). Alex Ogas had five RBIs on 3-of 5 hitting, adding to his team leading total of 25.

Dalton Randolph (5-5) pitched five strikeouts in victory. The ace also batted 3-for-4.

“Dalton Randolph never walked anybody or hit nobody, no wild pitches. He was on target. He had a good game,” Soper said.

Tyson Smith was perfect going 3-for-3 at the plate. Dalton Davis and Tyler Ebberts each hit triples in the lopsided win.

Now, it’s state playoffs time.

“This team, I’d say, went beyond their expectations. I know, they went beyond mine,” Soper said. “When you consider that we only had four kids after last year that came back, we didn’t even think we was going to have a team. A bunch of new kids came out. I thinks it’s really a compliment to them they’ve done this.”

Dove Creek and Elbert square off on Saturday at 10 a.m. The winner plays the victor of Baca County and Caliche at 3 p.m., for the right to go to the 1A state championship.

“We know, that each game here on, is going to be a lot tougher,” Soper said. “We’re going to need that confidence. They seem, so far, that their focus is pretty good.”

Baca County and Caliche play at 12:30 p.m. at Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver.

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