Home Creek Cherry Creek baseball adds to ‘Nuch tournament’s lasting legacy

Cherry Creek baseball adds to ‘Nuch tournament’s lasting legacy

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Every tournament.

The only entity as synonymous with the annual Tony Andenucio Memorial Tournament as the ‘Nuch itself is Cherry Creek Baseball.

Under the leadership of Marc Johnson – Colorado’s newly crowned leader in high school baseball wins as a coach – the Bruins were among 41 annual events, including this year’s one, which took place after a year off due to COVID-19.

During that time, they have made the most finals (17) and won the most tournament wins within the confines of Runyon Sports Complex (9).

“We developed a great relationship with Pueblo in the early 1980s,” Johnson said. “The city has been good to us and we love baseball. I love being a part of it. It’s something that we have been planning to do while I’m (still) up.”

Not much has changed for the Bruins over the years. The players have, of course. But the philosophy around the Cherry Creek Summer Ball and Tournament, in general, has remained the same.

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The only caveat was the building of the list.

When the tournament was created, the Bruins would bring the best of their school grounds, including the recently graduated seniors.

Now Johnson is focusing on a slightly younger audience. At the end of the year, he sends those over 18 who have already graduated to the team of their choice. He keeps the players who will return to the program the following year.

Cherry Creek manager Marc Johnson and assistant coach Dave Veres sit alongside the dugout during the Tony Andenucio Memorial Tournament on Thursday, July 15, 2021 at the Runyon Sports Complex.

In a way, his mindset has become to make every player on the team the best version of themselves. He is required to pay in the near future for him.

“I don’t babysit the seniors, I let them go because they are getting ready to go to college,” Johnson said. “I think the level of competition and the intensity (here) makes you have to learn. I call it ‘awareness how to win’. We know other teams have 18-year-olds, but that doesn’t doesn’t matter. ”

Every fall, the fruits of hard work in downtown Pueblo’s baseball mecca pay off.

Only Eaton (11) and Revere High School (10) have won more CHSAA state titles than Johnson’s program (8). These titles are part of a school legacy that includes 220 state championships in total, a far cry from second-placed Cheyenne Mountain 101.

The title at ‘Nuch is not a goal for Johnson. While winning is at the heart of every lesson he teaches, the tournament and the summer season are more about growth.

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Bringing in younger players ensures that every lesson learned on the baseball field can have a direct impact on the program’s earnings, as well as a given player’s future after high school. Thursday’s split, a 12-4 win over defending 2019 champions 4-Corners and a 6-4 loss to Parker, was more than starting the tournament on a high note.

“Our goal in the summer and fall is to get better,” Johnson said. “The hardest part is that Everybody wants to win. But, I had (17) out of my 19 (guys) in the lineup (Thursday). I have to teach the guys how to be a backup player (too) and how to handle it if you are. “

Look at the canoes, and outside on a bench, chair or even standing you will see Johnson. Often times he won’t be joined by other clubs in Denver – Jesuits Valor Christian and Regis of the World.

It doesn’t matter to Johnson, he won more than them anyway. And heck, that just means more fun for the Bruins.

Journalist Chieftain Luke Zahlmann can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @lukezahlmann.


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