The South Park High School baseball team sprinted to an ending 9-5 overall record and one of the most successful seasons since the reintroduction of the program.
The Burros worked their way through a tough 14-game schedule to finish third out of six teams in the class 2A District One standings with a solid 7-3 record as they finalized the season in the second round of the 2019 Colorado High School Activities Association District/Regional Baseball Tournament May 11.
Finishing last year with a 4-10 overall record only spurred the Burros into action as they set their sights high and finished with only four losses and wrapped up regular-season play with back-to-back wins over the Del Norte Tigers (25-13, 25-0) May 4.
The dominating win seeded the Burros third, below the Sanford Indians and the Sargent Farmers, heading into the District One Pigtail game, where they hosted the number six-ranked Tigers on Buena Vista High School’s field May 7. Once again, the Burros crushed their opponent in a 17-2 four-inning spread (3-0, 6-0, 4-0, and 4-2).
From the plate, sophomore Bobby Wallace led a lineup of sluggers with four hits and four RBIs, whacking out a double, a triple and a home run in the process.
Senior Daigen Springer was close behind with two hits and three RBIs, gaining a double. Keeping the pace, juniors John O’Donnell and Mathew Ryszkowski each managed two hits and two RBIs, while sophomore Michael Wishowski gained two hits and an RBI. Ryszkowski and Wishowski were each able to obtain a double.
The continuous hitting allowed the Burros to climb on the scoreboard as Wallace led his team with four runs, followed by senior TJ Peter with three. Senior Collin Moore, Wishowski and Springer brought in two runs each and O’Donnell, senior Joey Anderson (also hitting a double), junior Aron Susic, and sophomore Adam Susic concluded with one run each.
From the mound, Peter held it all together as he threw for nine strikeouts in 65 pitches against 13 batters faced. Gaining the win, the senior finished with only two hits and two runs against him.
While the loss ended a Tiger’s season with a final 3-15, 1-9 record, the Burros advanced into the second-round of the district tournament ready to play the number two ranked Sargent Farmers at Adams State University, where they took a season-ending loss by a margin of 8-3.
Facing the Farmers, who had a bye in the Pigtail round but held an almost even 9-8 record, did bother the Burro team as they took to the field to serve up three runs (sophomore Hector Almeida, Wishowski and Springer), six hits (Springer with three, including a double and a triple; Wishowski with two hits; and Ryszkowski with one), and two RBIs (Wallace and Wishowski).
While scoring two runs in the fourth and one in the seventh inning were crowd-pleasing moments, the Burros struggled with 10 strikeouts against them throughout the game.
A strong batting performance from the Farmers put the opponent in a 6-0 lead at the bottom of the third inning; scoring five runs in the first and one in the third.
Leading his team, Springer finished the game with six putouts, followed by Moore with three putouts and two assists. Teammates Peter and Wallace added to the effort with three putouts each with the addition of Peter’s assist.
Teammates continued to rally as Wishowski finished the game with a putout and two assists, followed by senior Brandon Hutcheson and Ryszkowski with one putout each.
An additional two runs in the fifth boosted the Farmers to eight, but the Burros retained their composure as pitcher Wishowski threw74 pitches against 24 batters faced with three strikeouts in four innings. Peter then stepped in to finish with 22 pitches against seven batters faced with three strikeouts in two innings.
The win allowed the Farmers to move into the championship round of the district tournament to face the number one ranked Sanford Indians the same day. A 19-6 win for the Farmers has advanced them to playing in the first round of the 2019 CHSAA State Baseball Championships, where they are currently seeded 16th among the top 16 teams of the class 2A bracket.
“These games (district championship) determine who advances to the regional bracket …” stated on chsaanow.com.
The regional tournament will be May 17-18, followed by the semifinals and the state championships May 25. The Farmers are scheduled to face a number one ranked Peyton team.
Wrapping up the season
While the season may have been cut short, the Burro team has a lot to be proud of as they finished the 2018-19 season ranked above district contenders the Custer County Bobcats, Center Vikings and Del Norte Tigers.
In addition, TJ Peter has left big shoes to fill for future teams as the senior brought his high school career to a close ranked in the top 10 among the Colorado class 2A stat leaders.
Having finished the season with 29 hits, 48 at-bats, three doubles, five triples, and two home runs, according to maxpreps.com, Peter is currently ranked fifth in batting average with a .604, sixth in on-base percentage with a .667, and seventh in the state in slugging with a 1.000.