Nearing the halfway point in the high school baseball season, the Eagles are discovering that the sky is the limit.
Paonia swept a doubleheader from Meeker last Saturday afternoon at Volunteer Park, improving to 10-0 to start the season.
The Eagles moved to No. 1 in 2A and beat the Cowboys by a combined score of 21-1.
Paonia head coach Nate Miller said that he doesn't pay any attention to rankings and doesn't think expectations will burden the team.
"Yeah, we know we're number one and there's a little pressure that comes with number one," Miller said. "You show up to practice every day and you better practice like you're number one. And I expect that from them. It doesn't matter this time of year what you're ranked."
KJ Seriani pitched the first game for Paonia. The sophomore struck out seven and hurled six full innings in the 10-0 win. He also went 3-for-4 from the plate, hit a home run and knocked in three runs. Seriani's six homers lead the state.
Trevor Smith ended the first game with a three-run home run, then opened the second contest with another three-run dinger.
In the two games against the Cowboys, Smith batted 5-for-6, clubbed two home runs and drove in eight. His 30 RBIs lead the state.
"He's having a good start to his year," Miller said. "Hitting, pitching, Trevor's doing everything. He's really stepped up as our leader this year and he's doing a great job. A great job."
Smith did the honors on the mound for the Eagles as well in game two, an 11-1 win. The hard-throwing right hander allowed three hits in five innings, struck out one Cowboy and walked two.
"KJ and Trevor looked pretty good," Miller said. "I wanted to get both those guys a start today and I wanted them to go as far as they could. We're getting into the part of the season now when they need to throw complete games."
Paonia's batters feasted on Meeker's pitchers.
Anders Shopp went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs in game one, while Jaden Miller batted 4-for-4 with three doubles in game two.
The Eagles offense is still taking shape and Miller tinkered with the lineup a bit.
"There's a couple of things I'm not too happy with right now, but we'll get it set when we really need to have it," Miller said. "We're continuing to move some stuff around right now, see what works and what doesn't work."
No. 1 Paonia plays at Cedaredge April 13 at 4 p.m.
No. 4 Hotchkiss (10-0) hosts a doubleheader against Meeker on Friday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
On April 19, the Eagles and Bulldogs meet at Volunteer Park at 4 p.m. The first recorded baseball game between Paonia and Hotchkiss occurred on July 4, 1904. Hotchkiss won, 26-17.