ALEX K.W. SCHULTZ
Special to Colorado Community Media
If the Rock Canyon baseball team continues to do what it did on April 12 against Grandview the rest of the season, watch out, 5A Continental League.
In their second-to-last nonleague game of the year, the Jaguars scored early, they scored often and they scored emphatically.
Led by Chase Jaworsky’s two-home-run day, the Jaguars pummeled Grandview 12-0 in a five-inning, mercy-rule affair on their home diamond.
Jaworsy’s two dingers — a bomb to straightaway centerfield and a moonshot deposited over the right-centerfield fence — gave the senior seven homers on the season, which is second-most in Colorado. Jaden Clause also smacked a home run — the junior’s first of the year.
Combined, Rock Canyon hit .524 (11-for-21) against the Wolves, who were forced to burn through four pitchers as the Jaguars teed off all afternoon.
“We can hit the ball,” fifth-year Rock Canyon coach Allan Dyer said. “We work on it every day. It’s the focal point of our practices every day.”
Added Jaworsky, a three-year varsity starter: “All the boys were hot today. We saw the ball well. We’re a good team.”
The Jaguars got the scoring party started early, sending 11 batters to the plate, scoring seven runs and knocking out starting pitcher Justin Dean — all in the first inning.
Matthew Shipley’s two-run triple to the right-centerfield gap on a 3-2 count spotted the Jaguars a quick 4-0 lead. Next up was Zach Perry, whose laser-beam triple off the leftfield fence scored Shipley. David Brabb and Will Garduno also had RBI singles in the opening frame.
“Once we’re on, we’re hot and we stay hot,” Jaworsky said. “We don’t go cold.”
And stay hot the Jaguars did.
Three more runs in the second inning — courtesy of Jaworsky’s first big fly and a two-run double smashed to leftfield by Manaav Bhatt — stretched Rock Canyon’s lead to 10-0.
Jaworsky’s and Clause’s third-inning home runs rounded out the scoring.
While the Jaguars’ (8-3) hitters were doing damage at the plate, their pitchers were shutting down the Wolves (6-5) on the mound.
Starting pitcher Austin Bowker threw 41 pitchers — 28 of them going for strikes — and surrendered just two hits, one of which was an infield single in the first inning. Bowker also tallied four strikeouts.
Chase Goode and Eric Hagner also got some pitching work in and combined to give up only two hits.
“To keep it small, we want to win as many innings of every game as we can. Then the games will take care of themselves,” Dyer said. “We won all five of those innings today. That’s something we talk about.”
Rock Canyon won the Class 5A state title in 2015 but has had some lean years since, including 2018 (eighth-place finish in league) and 2017 and 2019 (seventh-place finish both seasons).
But Dyer feels this year’s group has a chance to make some noise in the 5A Continental League and perhaps even in the state tournament, primarily because seven starters from last year’s squad are back and nearly everyone on the roster has been playing together since before high school.
“We’ve got a good, experience group,” Dyer said. “The kids have been playing together a long time — club ball, youth ball. They’ve been around each other a long time.
“We still have a long way to go. We haven’t put together a complete game yet, but today was a good day.”