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Bayfield baseball receives postseason props aplenty

Ross named IML Player of the Year, first team all-state
Bayfield’s Isaac Ross scoops a grounder during Intermountain League action this season at Pagosa Springs. The Wolverines shortstop/pitcher was recently named 3A Intermountain League Player of the Year and first team all-state. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

Denied the Intermountain League crown but able to outlast all their circuit rivals in season longevity, Bayfield baseball was recently honored with five all-league picks. The announcement was made earlier this month after Eaton’s win over Patriot League rival University (Greeley) in the 3A state championship.

Junior first baseman Noah Chamblee, along with junior pitcher/second baseman Jackson Queen, junior catcher Nic Twedt and senior shortstop/pitcher Isaac Ross were all named first team All-IML. Ross was also honored as the league’s Player of the Year.

Bayfield’s Noah Chamblee catches an attempted pickoff throw at first base against Fort Morgan during nonleague action this spring in La Junta. This month, Chamblee was named first team all-Intermountain League, and this week he received an all-state honorable mention. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

After a lengthy process including nominations from leagues and then a vote of head coaches, CHSAA on Tuesday announced its all-state teams, and Ross was one of nine players named first team all-state in Class 3A.

“Coach texted me … to tell me, and that was pretty exciting,” Ross said, “especially since I’d made all-state for football too. So I was pretty proud.”

“I couldn’t have done it without my team, God and my family,” he said. “Throughout all the years and with all the coaching I’ve gotten, it’s definitely been a joy to do it.”

Along with 44 other individuals, Chamblee, Queen and Twedt each received all-state honorable mentions in 3A.

Bayfield catcher Nic Twedt gets the sign from the dugout during nonleague play in La Junta this spring. Twedt was recently named first team all-Intermountain League and received an all-state honorable mention. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

“I honestly think that … a couple of them should have made (first team),” Ross said. “Because it was definitely a team effort; we had great people on the bump every single game, we had people hit the ball well, and we had fielding that was out of this world.”

“They’ve all been huge contributors,” BHS head coach Bert Miller said. “All our guys step up when they have to.”

Additionally, junior center fielder/pitcher Caden Wood was honorable mention all-IML as the Wolverines finished 6-2 in league, and 19-8 overall after losing to Sterling late in the state tournament – leaving BHS with a 3-2 postseason record.

“I mean, I’ll come in and pitch when they really need me, and I’ll do my best, but otherwise I love outfield,” Wood said during the season. “Just as long as I’m playing, I’m loving it.” Wood also saw time at catcher and shortstop this season.

Able to win the Region VI title in Hotchkiss by defeating Lafayette-based Peak to Peak and then event-hosting North Fork, Miller’s crew then traveled to Greeley for the double-elimination Great Eight phase. Reseeded from 11th in the initial round of 32 to sixth for the final title push, Bayfield promptly lost 14-4 to 3-seed Parker Lutheran, but stayed in the hunt with an 11-4 win the next morning over No. 7 Manitou Springs.

Bayfield's Isaac Ross (14) grins during pregame introductions before state tournament action in Greeley this spring. The Wolverine shortstop/pitcher was named 3A Intermountain League Player of the Year and first team all-state. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

“It was just a great ‘team’ year; we almost made it to where we’d wanted,” said Ross, who will next be donning a football helmet and pads this fall for NCAA Div. III Wilmington (Ohio) College, with exercise science his intended course of study.

“The experience they got in this year’s playoffs … will propel them into next year,” Miller said.

Intermountain champion Alamosa (13-8, 6-2) had the most total all-league selections with six, including seniors Donovan Ramirez and Evan Sowards, plus juniors Kade Jones, Kasey Jones and Michael Madril – all named first team all-IML – as well as honorable mention pick Tracen Rothermich, a senior.

Sowards – who, along with Ramirez and Kade Jones, received and All-3A honorable mention – also was selected to the Colorado Dugout Club Coaches Association’s Top 50 Seniors showcase, an after-season spectacle held June 8 at Keli McGregor Field at Coca-Cola All-Star Park in Lakewood.

Qualifying for the state tournament as the round of 32’s No. 8 seed, AHS edged 25-seed La Junta 9-8 in Region II semifinal play, but then saw its season abruptly end with a 13-2 loss to No. 9 Colorado Academy out of Denver.

“We came out flat,” said skipper Tony Kechter, whose Mean Moose fell behind 3-0 after one inning and trailed 9-0 going into the bottom of the third. “Just by making plays … we could have changed the whole dynamic.”

Ending the season on a four-game slide, including a Region VII loss to Buena Vista in the Class 2A state tournament’s opening Round of 32, La Jara-based Centauri (11-13, 2-6) had three selections including first team selections Byron Shawcroft, a senior, and junior Coby Thomas. Junior Connor King got a honorable mention, while boss Tyler Buhr was named IML Coach of the Year.

Ousted by Manitou Springs in 3A-Region VII play to begin the state tournament, Montezuma-Cortez (11-11, 3-5) had four all-IML first team picks: junior Jake Blackmer (honorable mention all-3A), sophomore Miles Frost, junior Evan LaMunyon and senior Trinidad McDonnell.

Junior Braden Hallman, the Panthers’ catcher, was picked for the CDCCA’s Top 50 underclassmen game, which preceded the seniors’ contest.

Defeated seven times in eight outings to conclude regular-season action, Pagosa Springs (7-14, 3-5) still had two first team all-leaguers in junior Kaison Clifford (honorable mention all-3A) and sophomore Hunter Pouyer, while senior Rhead Kay earned honorable mention all-IML distinction.

Ignacio’s Jacob Gallegos enjoys a pregame laugh with the Bobcats before action at IHS Field this spring. Already named the 2A/1A San Juan Basin League's Player of the Year, the sophomore shortstop/pitcher received an all-state honorable mention this week. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)
In good company

Ignacio SS/P Jacob Gallegos was also saluted for his work on the diamond this spring, as he wrapped up his sophomore year earning an all-state honorable mention in Class 2A. The Bobcats went 15-8 overall in 2022, won the 2A/1A San Juan Basin League title with a 4-2 mark and reached the 2A state tournament’s “Sweet 16.”

No Durango Demons were honored in Class 4A.