HENDERSON — The Prairie View High School baseball team has flown under the radar for most of this season, and the ThunderHawks are using that to their advantage going into the postseason.
Prairie View sealed its spot in the playoffs Friday after defeating Rangeview 8-7. And if that game is an example of things to come, PVHS will be a dangerous squad for any team in Class 5A.
With their backs against the wall, the ThunderHawks rallied from a 4-1 deficit to defeat the Raiders in 10 innings. Things seemed bleak early on, especially after Westminster knocked off Northglenn 4-3 Thursday night, meaning that the winner of Friday’s game wass in the playoffs and the loser was out.
“I think sometimes we play a little tight,” Prairie View coach Tim Cardenas said. “I think that was the case (Friday), but I think from here on out we will be loose and ready to go.”
Prairie View missed the playoffs last season. But despite a squad dominated by underclassmen, the ThunderHawks have battled and fought their way to a 14-4-1 record this season, including a 7-2 record in the EMAC. Their lone two losses came to Northglenn and Brighton. In nine of their wins, they scored 10 or more runs, including a stretch of three games where they scored a combined 66 runs.
“Our guys have really been relentless,” Cardenas said. “They have great attitudes and never give up. They’ve come a long way, and I’m proud of them. “
At the plate, Prairie View has been one of the top squads in the state. The ThunderHawks are fifth in Class 5A in runs and seventh in hits and batting average. But it is their base running that makes them dangerous. Prairie View leads 5A in stolen bases with 73.
Caleb Dameron has led the way, setting the state record with 24 steals. Brandon Sanchez also has 12 steals, while Zach Massey has 11.
Dameron is also leading the ThunderHawks with a .508 batting average, hits (33) and runs (27). Clay Davis (.418) and Jordan Jones (.400) are among the other top hitters. Davis has 23 RBIs to lead the squad.
Jones has also been dominant on the mound. The senior has gone 6-1 and has a team-high 62 strikeouts.
“I think we are an under-the-radar team,” Dameron said. “We have a lot of guys that want to do nothing but win and a lot of guys with undiscovered talent. We’ve hung all season long, and I think we will make some noise in the playoffs.”
The biggest challenge for Prairie View will be its youth. The squad only features four seniors.
“We are young,” Cardenas said. “But these kids play a high level of baseball in the summer and so I think they are ready to come out and battle.”
The ThunderHawks find out who they play on Wednesday.