The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

Creek Baseball Pulls Off Doubleheader Win to Defeat Regis, Take the 2024 Championship

Quinn Rudnick
Senior Catcher Brayden Yasuzawa awaits a pitch at a game on March 28, 2023. Yasuzawa hit an RBI double in the championship game for Creek’s first run, then scored their second on a junior first baseman Connor Larkin double. Later, he sacrifice bunted Luke Rose to third; Rose consequently scored as Regis errored attempting to throw out Yasuzawa.

Regis Jesuit infielders couldn’t do much as Creek sophomore outfielder Tyce Smith’s line drive single soared past them and knocked in junior Mason Scott for Creek’s third run of the Colorado High School Athletics Association (CHSAA) 5A Championships on June 1.

Smith didn’t know it then, but he had just hit the game winning RBI, earning Creek their ninth Colorado State Championship, one that sealed a legendary career for head coach Marc Johnson.

“In my retirement year for me personally, it made it a story-book ending,” Johnson said. “[The kids] felt really good about winning, and I kept trying to tell them, ‘It’s about you,’ and they kept trying to tell me that it wasn’t just for them. They’re trying to send me out on a note that I deserve.”

For Johnson, it’s the end of a huge era. “It was a fun year for me to coach and an incredible year to go out. I’m going to miss it. There’s no doubt about that,” he said. “I’ve done it for 52 years. It’s been my life.”

Creek started the postseason with a flash, defeating Chaparral 8-0. Though they beat Grandview in the second round 4-1, it wouldn’t be their last time facing them; after losing 3-0 in a demoralizing semifinal game against Regis, they had to beat the Wolves again in the consolation bracket to return to the finals.

Because they were returning from the consolations against a Regis team that hadn’t lost in the postseason yet, Creek had to beat the Raiders twice.

In the first game, Creek crushed Regis 11-1, prompting the second championship game. That’s where Creek took the trophy in a 5-2 win.

“Beating them twice in a row coming back from the loss made it even more special because nobody expected us to do it except us,” junior starting pitcher Ryan Falke said. “It was special to beat Regis because of the rivalry…they all thought they had it when they beat us in the semifinals.”

Johnson, while having a huge respect for the Regis program, saw a shift in energy when the Bruins trounced Regis in the day’s first game.

“I told the kids, ‘They’re good and it’s gonna be a very, very difficult day, but if we believe we love each other, we go out and do what we’re capable of doing, we could win,’” he said. “Then we just blew them out in the first game. And I think that gave us confidence and put pressure on them. The momentum at that point changed to us.”

There was an added layer of emotion for Smith, who just happened to be facing down his former teammates.

“I had transferred from Regis this year and to beat them in the state championship while also being able to contribute was amazing,” Smith said. “I played there last year and we were able to beat them back to back to win it all.”

Falke was undoubtedly a primary contributor to the win, pitching a complete seven inning game, limiting the Raiders to two runs.

“Being able to be a strength for this team has been very valuable to me,” Falke said. “All of my teammates and my coaches have been there for me all year and I am thankful for them and everything they did this year to help us win it all.”

Smith agrees that the bond the team has shown was the driving factor to a successful postseason, especially when they had to come back from the consolation bracket.

“I would like to thank [my teammates and coaches especially] for the support and welcoming me into the Creek family,” Smith said. “They’ve seen me and my highs and lows, and supported me each step of the way.”

While Johnson knew it would be a challenge, he could see the stupendous strength in his team.

“I believe that the reason that we won is because we loved each other and we stuck together, and we believed in each other,” he said. “I’m very thankful for every minute, every second that I got to coach baseball and hopefully make some kind of a positive impact on the players.”

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About the Contributors
Peter Philpott
Peter Philpott, News Editor & Outreach Coordinator
Hey there! My name's Peter, I'm a junior, and I'm the USJ's News Editor and Outreach Coordinator. I believe that the first amendment is incredibly important, and as journalists we have the right and the duty to uphold it. I am very passionate for news reporting, from small, local issues, to major politics or systemic change topics. This is why I love political/breaking news reporting, and one day I hope to be an investigative journalist. I also enjoy artistic photography in my free time. My position as Outreach Coordinator gives me the opportunity to connect to other newspapers, businesses, and families in the community to grow our reach and get our coverage in the hands of more people. I play trumpet and mellophone and I am part of Creek's Marching Band. I'm enthusiastic to inform this school on the happenings of our community, from Capitol Hill to the quad. Also, check out my column, Peanuts and Cracker Jack, where I talk about in-depth baseball!

To contact me by email, access my portfolio, or view my photography Instagram account, click the respective buttons below.

Quinn Rudnick
Quinn Rudnick, Editor-in-Chief
Hello, my name is Quinn Rudnick, and I am the USJ's Editor-in-Chief. I am a senior at CCHS - and this is my fourth year on staff at the USJ. I hold a strong passion for both journalism and photojournalism, and intend to pursue a career in politics and law. As a journalist, I strive to present information to the student body and beyond in a factual and digestible fashion. The importance of journalism is based in allowing the public to understand what's happening around them, so that is what I strive to do. I write a lot about local and global politics, as well as local theatre and events around the school. You can find me at a lot of Creek sports games, fueling my passion for sports photography and reporting. Outside of the USJ, I follow Formula One racing, the Nuggets and the Avs, and I love being outside, whether that's on hikes, or by snowboarding and mountain biking. 

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