Denver North baseball aims for state berth; DPL players to watch

Denver North walked through fire in non-league play, with the belief that adversity can help the Vikings earn a long-awaited state tournament berth next month.

The Vikings were 2-7 in non-league this spring, but have turned it on in the Denver Prep League, where they are off to an 8-0 start after beating Denver East 6-4 on Saturday afternoon.

If star senior first baseman Isaiah Padilla and his teammates have anything to say about it, the hot start in the Denver Prep League is foreshadowing greater things to come. Denver North’s goal is to make its first state tournament appearance since 1977, when the Vikings won the Class 3A title to pair with their 2A crown in 1953.

“We were competitive in most non-league games, but there were a couple where we just didn’t show up,” 16th-year North head coach Ernesto Marquez said. “But it’s all for the better in the long run. Our two goals were set at the beginning of the year: league championship and state championship. And that’s all that mattered.

“I kept reminding not only the players but myself about that, especially through that stretch there losing 6 of 7, and reminding myself of what those two ultimate goals are.”

Of the Class 4A Vikings’ seven losses, six of them came against either 5A teams or ranked 4A teams. As North was finding its groove against top in-state competition, Padilla, an Arizona Western JuCo commit, also started slow. But his bat has heated up as of late. While he hasn’t pitched yet, the Vikings plan on deploying him in a closer-type role down the stretch of the season.

Senior right-hander Adin Vasquez is the team’s ace, while senior utility Juan Huasequi, freshman center fielder Donzio Sanudo and senior right-hander Chase Rivet will also be critical for North to not only win the league title, but get past the regional round. Northfield is the defending DPL champion.

“We’ve been able to win the first one at regionals a couple times (during my tenure), but we haven’t been able to get two in one day,” Marquez said. “Hopefully we can get it done this year and get back to the state tournament… It’s been a more than a while since we were in that state (tournament) talk.”

Denver Prep League Players to Watch

Denver North

Sr U Isaiah Padilla, Sr U Juan Huasequi, Sr RHP Adin Vasquez

Thomas Jefferson

Jr C Sloan Steimel, Sr SS Dylan Huntsman, Sr RHP Max Hauer


Sr P/INF Mason Sukigara , Sr LHP/1B Frank Willius, Sr C Thomas Worth

George Washington

Sr RHP/INF Cody Morris, Jr OF Garrett Walden

Denver South

Sr C Campbell Framke

Far Northeast

Jr RHP/SS Daniel Esparza, Sr LHP/OF Alvaro Nunez

Denver East

Soph OF Mason Manley, Sr OF/RHP Jackson Peiker

Vista Peak Prep

Sr C/1B Anthony Porras, Jr SS/RHP Connor Angelini

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