WP Baseball Team Gets Hot Near Season Finale

Young Star Players Could Give Panthers a Bright Future

Trevor Phipps


After struggling through adversity this year with Mother Nature not being real cooperative, the Woodland Park High School Baseball team made strides during their 2024 season.

And their future prospects appear promising, with a number of players returning to the diamond.

During their first home game, the team struggled when it came to pitching. But by their final home game that wrapped up last week, they looked like a new team.


Throughout the season the team had good hitting and they were able to make some big plays while at bat. However, when it came to pitching, the team struggled without one stand-out star pitcher.  But the Panthers experienced success when they figured out a good pitching rotation.


Despite their vast improvements over the season, the team fell short on seeing any post season action. The Panthers ended their season with a 6-17 overall record and a 3-7 league tally. In the end, they took fifth place in their 3A Tri-Peaks League.


During the middle part of the season, the boys struggled and racked up a nine-game losing streak. But this scenario changed at the end of April.


The Panthers seemed to turn things around when Florence came to Woodland Park for a double header on April 29. The WP team easily dominated each game with 11-1 and 11-4 scores.


The team stayed strong when Salida came to town a few days later. On May 2, the wind was fierce and temperatures were on the chilly side making the double header against the Salida Spartans a tough one.


But during the first game, the Spartans realized the Panthers meant business. The two teams battled hard, and the first match was close until the very end. And when the bottom of the seventh inning came, Salida, who was heavily favored to win the contest, was barely able to escape with a 9-7 victory. This set the rebound trend for the second game.


During the second match of the double header, the Panthers literally came out swinging. Woodland Park dominated the second time around and trounced the Spartans 9-3.


But then two days later, the Panthers made the long trip east to Lamar and didn’t fare well against the Lamar Tigers. The Tigers beat the Panthers 10-0 in both of the games played.


Then on May 6, the team came back home for a league match and they gave their fans hope for playoff possibilities. In a long offensive game, the Panthers came out sizzling against the Colorado Springs Christian High School Lions and ended up winning by a16-14 margin.


On May 11, it was do or die time for the Panthers’ “Senior Night” as the team played a double header at home against their tough rival team: the Manitou Springs Mustangs. Unfortunately, the Mustangs destroyed the Panthers’ playoff hopes by beating them 27-2 in the first match and then 16-1 in the second game.


Then last Tuesday, the Panthers played a non-league game that was rescheduled due to weather against the Widefield Gladiators. Even though the team looked drastically better than they did at the beginning of the season, they lost their final match to the Gladiators 9-2.


Several Panther Baseball Stars Slated to Return in 2025


The good news for the Panther baseball program is that many of their stars this year were underclassmen. Some of the team’s top scorers will be back on the field next spring and will most likely look better than ever.


The team will, however, lose three seniors who were on their starting roster this year as Ian Newsham, Westin McCorkell, and Sladen Pitts will all be graduating later this month. Pitts only played one game this season where he picked up a run.


McCorkell played 17 games and he finished the season with a 0.213 batting average, 10 runs, 10 hits, and 10 RBIs. Newsham earned a 0.268 batting average for the season over his 15 games played and he racked up 10 runs, 11 hits, and nine RBIs.


While pitching, Newsham was the third best on the team with a 7.58 ERA. Newsham also got the third best slugging percentage on the team with 0.414, and he got the most triple-base hits with two.


Luckily for the Panthers, most of the team’s top performers will be returning next season. Sophomore Link Bryden was a key player when it came to both pitching and hitting.


Bryden was the team’s best when at bat with a 0.404 batting average and a 0.486 on base percentage. He picked up the third-most runs with 19 and had the most RBIs with 14. Bryden was also the only Panther player to hit a homerun this season.


During the 23 games he played, Bryden was also the team’s go-to pitcher. He finished the season pitching a 2-4 record and a 4.85 ERA.


Sophomore Gavin Strouse and junior Wyatt Stimits were the next best batters with 0.286 batting averages apiece. Strouse had the best fielding percentage with 0.950, the second-most hits with 16 and the second-most runs with 23. Strouse also had the second-most stolen bases with 15, sitting just behind junior Gabe Marquez who stole 16 bases.


Rockies and Vibes Action

Well even though the high school baseball season is over, baseball fans still have plenty to look forward to. The Colorado Rockies may not be worth watching this year, as they are headed for another last place spot in their division, the National League West.  But surprisingly, they have discovered a bit of a hot streak recently, sweeping the World Champion Texas Rangers and San Diego Padres.  Believe it or not, the Rocks secured a seven-game winning streak, at the time of this writing.


The Rocky Mountain Vibes (Pioneer League baseball team in Colorado Springs), meanwhile, played a scrimmage last week. In fact, they play their first match on the road this Tuesday. The Vibes play their first home game at UCHealth Field on the northeast side of Colorado Springs on May 28 against the Pioneer League’s new team, the Oakland Ballers at 6:35 p.m.