Larson’s line drive sends Regis back to state

Daniel P. Johnson
Posted 5/17/12

AURORA — Regis baseball coach Walt Weiss had a quandary on his hands. As the Raiders’ game against Liberty in the Class 5A District 6 final …

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Larson’s line drive sends Regis back to state

AURORA — Regis baseball coach Walt Weiss had a quandary on his hands.
As the Raiders’ game against Liberty in the Class 5A District 6 final entered the seventh inning with the Raiders clinging to a one-run lead, Weiss had to decide whether to ride with his starter, David Peterson, or make a pitching change.
Peterson partially made his coach’s mind up, as he ran to the mound before the start of the inning. After a brief conference with Weiss, Peterson was allowed to stay in and he finished off the game in style, working a one-two-three seventh inning to earn the 2011 5A state champions a return trip to the state tournament with an 8-7 victory May 12 at Regis Jesuit High School.
The Raiders (17-4) are the No. 3 seed in the eight-team double-elimination bracket and will face No. 6 Dakota Ridge (17-3) in the opening round at 10:30 a.m. on May 18 at Bishop Machebeuf High School. The winner takes on the winner of No. 2 Grandview (19-2) and No. 7 Highlands Ranch (15-6) at 3 p.m.
“I just made sure he was in the right frame of mind to finish the game and that he had no doubts that he could do it,” Weiss said of Peterson. “He’s a special kid to finish a game where he didn’t have his “A” game.”
Peterson allowed just eight hits and finished the game with 10 strikeouts, but ran into trouble early against the free-swinging Lancers, as he surrendered a two-run home run in the first inning and gave up runs in the first three innings.
Still, Regis, behind a potent offensive attack of its own, led 7-5 after three innings. Peterson settled down in the middle innings but ran into trouble in the sixth as a leadoff walk and a hit batter put the tying run on base. An error by third baseman Joey Larson (it was a tough hop but scored an error) led to a run and a single by Brent Williams tied the score at 7-7. Larson, who was hot at the dish all afternoon, got a chance to put Regis ahead in the bottom of the inning, and he took advantage of his opportunity. On a 2-2 count, he lined a single to center, which scored Max George from second base for what proved to be the game-winning run.
“It was good to get that hit, especially since I couldn’t get those two bunt attempts down,” said Larson, who was 4-for-4 with three RBIs. “I’m glad I had the chance to redeem myself.”
Although the Raiders are the defending state champions, this squad is relatively young and inexperienced at the varsity level. It makes the accomplishment of getting to state all the more satisfying to the coaching staff and players.
“At the beginning of the year, we didn’t know quite what we had,” Weiss said. “I think we turned a corner after we returned from our Arizona trip. We came back, beat Highlands Ranch and their best pitcher, Ryan Burr, and we kind of just took off from there.”
Larson agreed with his coach that the Spring Break trip was a pivotal moment for the team.
“We just had a lot of long talks without the coaches,” Larson said. “We really pulled together as a team and just told ourselves that we had the ability to (go back to state), we just had to believe it.
“It’s awesome to be going. This is the first time to experience state for a lot of guys on the team, so we’re excited to have a chance to play in the tournament.”
Regis advanced to the district title game by handling Northglenn 9-0 in the days first game. Peter Bayer tossed a two-hitter, and George and Brody Weiss both hit two-run home runs in the sixth inning to blow the game open.
Regis 8, Liberty 7
Liberty 212 002 0 — 7 8 2
Regis 214 001 x — 8 11 2
W-Peterson. L-Caverly. Highlights: Max George 3-for-3, triple, 3 RBIs; Joey Larson 4-for-4, triple, double, 3 RBIs; Peterson, CG, 10 strikeouts.


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