Gold ace Laif Palmer leads the demons in their quest for the Class 4A state title

COLORADO SPRINGS — On a mound on a mountain, Laif Palmer made altitude pitching an art form on Friday.

The golden right-hander dominated Summit in the Demons’ 9-0 win to open the Class 4A State Tournament at Cheyenne Mountain High School. Palmer, perhaps Colorado’s most projectable prep arm heading into July’s MLB Draft, had 11 strikeouts in six shutout innings.

Of the local pitchers who could be drafted – Palmer, Douglas County’s Max Stanley, Eaton’s Tate Smith, Faith Christian’s Carson Jasa and Douglas County’s Hunter Gotschall – the Golden star has garnered the most interest. In fact, he’s drawn the most interest of any player in the state minus shortstop Eaton Walker Martin, who is ranked the 41st draft prospect in the nation by MLB Pipeline.

“He’s the best pitcher in the state,” Goldens coach Jackie McBroom said. “And not only is he the best pitcher in the state, he’s going to get a plot better.”

On Friday, Palmer’s repertoire seemed equal parts dominant and refined. His fastball ran 93-95 mph on both sides of the plate, in conjunction with a sweeper-like slider (82-84) and change (83-85). He commanded every pitch while racking up all those Ks, and nearly every Summit hitter was overpowered as the Tigers only had three hits.

Meanwhile, gold slugger Noah Wicks led the Demons on offense against Summit, hitting his 15th homer of the year. The three-point jack opened the game in a five-point fourth inning. The left-handed batting catcher now has 39 RBIs and a slugging of 1.212, while Demons third baseman Jaydon Hord has nine homers and a slugging of .815.

The 24 home runs between Wicks and Hord are the most scored by two state teammates as the three-hitter Wicks (Hutchinson Community College commitment) and the Hord cleanup (Santa Barbara City College), working with Palmer’s arm, powered Golden’s fourth state tournament. appearance over seven seasons under McBroom.

“We feed off each other’s energy,” Wicks said of Hord. “And then we feed on the energy of our team, because we feel (their support) from the canoe. We just helped each other stay on track throughout the year.

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