EATON, Colo. — It is affectionately known as America’s favorite pastime, and in Eaton, Colorado, there’s something unique about the way kids view baseball from a very young age.

“A lot of great kids, a lot of great players that have come through our program,” said Eaton High School head baseball coach Todd Hernandez.

“The thick culture that Eaton has being out here with your boys. And on game day, all of us are out here signing autographs for the little kids,” said senior Tate Smith, who like his other teammates is sporting a mustache and mullet.

And while the mustaches and mullets might reflect the party in this current team, make no mistake – on the field – baseball is all business in Eaton.

“We respect everyone, but we come in with a chip on our shoulder,” said senior Ryder True.

“We just kind of worry about ourselves more than anything,” said Smith. “We’re a tough team to beat when we’re playing together and like coach always says, ‘Play the ball.’ It doesn’t matter if we’re playing the ’27 Yankees or whoever, you’re playing.”

It’s an all-for-one mentality that has elevated Eaton to greatness.

“I think that’s why we are so consistent,” said junior Mitch Haythorn. “Top to bottom in the lineup, I mean, anytime we’re in a tough spot and someone’s up to bat, I trust anyone of our guys to come through whether that’s getting a hit, getting on base, anything.”

Eaton has now won 14 state baseball championships, and third in a row, with a 13-3 win on Sunday in a rematch of last year’s state title game against the University High Bulldogs.

“It takes a team to win it,” said True.

“Just the culture,” Smith said. “It starts at a young age.”

Those 14 state titles are more than any other high school in Colorado.

“Surreal is a good word for it,” said Hernandez. “And that is an all-classification record for Colorado high school baseball.”

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The first title came in 1994, behind former legendary coach Jim Danley who went on to win 11 state championships from 1994-2015.

“I think the thing is community,” Hernandez said. “They treat all these kids like their own. When you go to a home game here, the stands are packed. There’s just tremendous community pride in everything we do. And this year, we have three players going to Division 1 power-five conferences.”

Flame thrower Haythorn (my nephew) is headed to the University of Oklahoma. Hurler Tate Smith is heading to Oklahoma’s in-state rival Oklahoma State University.

And heavyweight hitter Walker Martin, who was just named Colorado’s high school baseball player of the year, has signed with the University of Arkansas.

“He’s got 19 home runs, 72 RBIs,” Hernandez said. “He’s got more home runs than singles.”

Martin is also projected to go as high as 16th in the first round of the MLB draft this July, which would make him one of the highest-drafted players in Colorado history across all classifications.

“Right now, he is in a position to be the highest drafted position player in Colorado since Darnell McDonald from Cherry Creek,” Hernandez said.

“He’s projected to go 16th overall,” Haythorn said.

“Couldn’t be happening to a better person,” Smith said. “I’ve known the kid since we were in diapers. He’s one of my best friends.”

“We have anywhere from 10, 15, 20 scouts at games,” Hernandez said. “He’s handled it great. Tremendous perspective for a high school kid.”

And it’s not just baseball putting Eaton on the map. True has an unprecedented eight rings across all sports in high school.

“I have three in wrestling, three in football, and going for number 3 in baseball, which would be number 9,” True said.

A powerhouse program of mustaches and mullets.

“I get a lot of crap for it, but once you grow it out, there’s no turning back,” Haythorn said.

“That farm kid, you know, everyone calls us hicks,” True said.

“Corn-fed, baby,” Smith said. “That’s what we do.”

A small town with kids who dare to dream big.

“Just super kids,” Hernandez said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

“We always preach, control what you can control,” Haythorn said. “And the rest will take care of itself. We’ll beat ourselves long before anyone else beats us.”

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