High-Watts Baseball: Holy Family 1B continues to mash; Tigers 1 win away from 4A title

May 25—AIR FORCE ACADEMY — Holy Family first baseman Jayden Watts took a wayward pitch to his back Saturday afternoon. One of the few ways the guys on the mound have been able to avoid his bat this postseason.

"It was a curveball," he smiled when asked about it. "So, I was able to rub it off real quick."

Again nothing much tamed Watts. He continued his spectacle from the plate on the second day of Class 4A's double-elimination tournament, where the fifth-ranked Tigers had their way offensively for a third straight game on the Air Force Academy base, beating No. 6 Falcon, 11-6.

"I mean, the whole team is just hitting the ball well," said Holy Family coach Marc Cowell, whose team had 22 hits in wins over No. 1 Windsor and No. 4 Palisade on Friday, then 12 more against the Falcons. "J-dub is leading the way."

A parade of hits this weekend, now another parade may not be far behind for the Tigers. They play again June 1, having two chances to get one win for their first title in baseball since 2014.

"It's not going to be easy," Cowell warned his team.

Even if the Tigers made it seem that way during the tournament's opening weekend.

After driving in five runs on three hits in a 9-4 win over the Wizards 24 hours earlier, Watts ripped a bases-clearing double to fuel a seven-run second inning against Falcon, giving him nine RBIs in the tournament.

The big inning was more than enough for senior ace Brady Hudson, who was effective in allowing four runs (two earned) across six innings. Especially with the strong defensive performance he had behind him — highlighted by shortstop Cole Kuszak's throw home to get the third out in the fifth, followed by right fielder Logan Seifarth's sliding catch in the sixth.

Next for the Tigers (21-5-1), "we'll just rest and get back to work next week," Watts said. "Just get our minds right for next Saturday."

Their hope is that all the momentum they accrued will carry over until then. Certainly plenty of it after they seemed to make all the right plays and moves through the first two days.

Including this one: Sending junior Brendan Ward to the mound to face state-favorite Windsor in their second game Friday.

Not only did the minimally-used reliever pitch the Tigers past the Wizards — his complete-game performance saved their No. 1 for Day 2.

Hudson, opposite Falcon reliever David Ada, struck out eight in improving to 7-2 on the season. Ada, with just 8 2/3 innings logged on the mound this spring, meanwhile, was chased after allowing eight runs in 1 2/3 innings.

"To win a state tournament against teams of this caliber you have to pull a string or two, and it's got to work. The whole team has got to win it," Cowell said. "We know we have two guys (Hudson and Kuszak) who are really good at the top. We knew we needed a third guy to come in and (start) as well. It's the only way we were going to win this tournament or have a chance. And B-Ward came in and did exactly what he needed to do."

Next Friday, Falcon (21-6) will play the winner of No. 2 Golden (26-3) and No. 3 Pueblo County (22-6) for a chance to advance to the final day. Whichever team is left will need to beat the Tigers twice Saturday to win the 4A crown.