Seniors lead at the ballpark for Ponderosa baseball

Maloney says the lineup is strong top to bottom


Ponderosa head baseball coach Bob Maloney has a good team this season that he says is more like a family.

Maloney said five seniors have set the standard for the program.

Those players are third baseman/pitcher Cael Porter, catcher Brady Ingalls, first baseman Dom Lopez, second baseman Kolton Miller and outfielder Skyler Ahern.

“We have five seniors that have been instrumental in our success not only this year but the previous three as well,” said Maloney. “They lead by example, they don’t care who gets the credit. It’s awesome and they play as a family.

“This is my seventh year and when they came in as freshmen ... we’ve had good teams, don’t get me wrong ... but these guys are special. They are baseball kids. They’re good but they respect the game, play hard and they keep the team together. We’re not head and shoulders above other teams, but we play like a family and that helps us a lot.”

Ponderosa, 9-2, was the top-ranked Class 4A team in Colorado in the May 24 poll.

And like a family, the players are close to each other. Junior Luke Karel was diagnosed with leukemia a few months ago, and the Mustangs have dedicated this season to him.

“One of our teammates has been struggling this year,” pointed out Miller. “He’s in the hospital, and we’ve just been playing for him every game. Just seeing that there are some people that wish they could be in our shoes and playing out here, we don’t want to take that for granted. He’s been battling and we stay in touch so we’ve been playing for him.”

Pondo, which lost a 5-4 game to Castle View on May 24, has notched some big wins so far this season. The Mustangs shut out Regis Jesuit, ranked third in the Class 5A poll, 4-0 on May 12. Pondo whipped Douglas County, 13-3 on May 17, blanked Legend, 11-0, on May 20 and got past fifth-ranked Class 5A team Mountain Vista, 15-9, on May 23.

“Our team knows we have a chance to go far,” said Porter. “We are all playing for each other. We definitely have more of a drive to come out and compete this year. From one through nine in the lineup we are all trying our hardest. We just need to keep battling. We can’t take anyone for granted.”

After 11 games, junior outfielder Carson Conant was the Mustangs’ leading hitter among the starters with a .455 batting average while junior shortstop Dylan Carey was hitting at a .452 clip. Miller, who will play next season at CSU-Pueblo, was hitting .368 and Ahern, a Lamar Community College recruit, at .360.

“This year we have really good chemistry,” added Miller. “We’ve jelled really good together, and we have a couple guys that have been playing varsity baseball for three or four years now so we have the experience and confidence. We’re just going to take it one game at a time.

“Whether we are down or up, we’re never out of the game. We just keep playing until the last out. We never give up and keep each other up.

“All the seniors try to lead by example and try to help the younger guys know what it is like to be part of Ponderosa baseball,” continued Miller. “We try to set a good example so when we are out of here the younger guys can take over and have a good team too.”


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