No. 28 could be just a little more distinctive for Cherry Creek baseball coach Marc Johnson.
Creek wrapped up the Centennial League championship May 3 with a 10-0 win over Eaglecrest. It was the 28 league title won by Creek but this season's title might be more special.
“I can remember most of them,” said the 67-year-old Johnson, who has compiled a 710-166 record in 42 seasons as Creek's head coach. “You know what, they are all special. This one was real special because we didn't start out as strong as we hoped we would. The team worked (hard), came on and we have had five run-rule games in a row.”
Cherry Creek usually has teams loaded with highly touted players. However, early this season the Bruins looked more like just an average team with a 3-3 record in the first six games of the campaign.
“We've been spoiled the past couple years,” admitted Johnson. “Now, we're back to playing baseball, having to execute skills and doing the things we have to do to beat people. I'm very, very proud of this team. They have worked hard. I have a fabulous coaching staff. The team pushed themselves very hard and did everything they could to be as good as they could be.”
Creek, which has won 12 of its last 13 games and outscored opponents 63-4 in the last five outings, is seventh in wild card points and could host one of eight, four-team district tournaments scheduled for May 10. The brackets, which can be found on www.maxpreps.com, were expected out May 7.
“I just hope we will go in and compete in the state playoffs,” added Johnson. “Our kids are excited. We want to play and we respect every team we will play. We will go in and give it the best shot that we can. We're happy to be where we are at.”
In the Bruins final tune-up for the playoffs against Eaglecrest, the game was called after six innings because of the mercy rule. Starting pitcher Justin Jeronimus limited the Raptors to one hit in the 10-0 shutout, striking out six and not walking a batter.
“We got a really good pitching performance,” said Johnson. “Cody Wood has a little bit of a hurt arm. Justin has really stepped in and become our go-to guy for the time being. We're hoping Cody will be able to go by the state playoffs. We hope to have both of them.”
Creek hit for the cycle in a five-run third inning against the Raptors.
Sean Robison, the No. 9 hitter in the lineup, doubled to start the inning and stole third base. Aeneas Robertson followed with a single, Ryan Robb tripled and Grant Farrell hit a two-run, inside the park home run. The fifth run came home on Jack Hallmark's squeeze bunt that scored designated hitter Parker Jax who had tripled.
Creek was helped by three Eaglecrest errors to score five more runs in the bottom of the sixth to end the game.