M-CHS hitting gets demonized

Panthers baseball team shut down and shutout by Durango pitching

Randy Haley reaches for the ball after it dropped short at left field Thursday afternoon against Durango. Enlargephoto

Journal/Sam Green

Randy Haley reaches for the ball after it dropped short at left field Thursday afternoon against Durango.

It was a cold, windy senior day for Montezuma-Cortez High School on Thursday evening.

Durango pitcher Joe Brennan and his team definitely gave the Panthers the cold shoulder at McAndrew Field.

M-CHS was spellbound to Brennan’s one-hitter, five inning performance. The Demons bats then flew in a nine-run, fifth inning to put the Panthers to rest.

M-CHS lost 12-0 in five.

“I hate to sound cliche, I actually thought we played pretty good. Today was one of those days you just simply got to tip your cap to a team that outplays you,” Panthers’ coach Sam Perry said. “The out-pitched us, they out-hit us, they out-fielded us. That’s a very good Durango team. You just got to tip your cap and regroup. You learn how to get better and play a little better.”

M-CHS (6-9, 0-7 5A/4A Southwestern League) played even for two innings defensively against Durango (10-5, 5-2 SWL).

However, in the top of the third inning, Panthers’ starter Dakota Goossen gave up three hits and two runs. Durango added another run in the fourth for a 3-0 lead before the Demons bats erupted in the fifth.

Goossen was relieved after 4 2/3 innings by Gerardo Martinez.

But the hits kept on coming from Durango. The Demons had seven hits and six Runs Batted In that resulted in their nine-run fifth inning.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Panthers threatened to extend the game by loading the bases. Martinez ended Brennan’s no-hitter with a single two batters after Manuel Hernandez forced a walk. After the Martinez hit, Elijah Duran recorded a walk to load the bases with just one out. But Brennan bounced back. He struck out pinch hitter Stephen Candelaria and then forced Tam Phan to ground out to first that ended the game. Brennan also had three hits on offense.

“Durango is a great team. We knew that coming in. But so are we,” said senior shortstop Devin Fox. “Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get the hits. They had an outstanding pitcher on the mound today. It’s a tough loss, but we’ll come back and get them at their park (on May 3).”

For Fox, his last home game as a Panther was a little bittersweet.

“It went by fast, is all I can say,” he said. “It’s been awesome to play here for (former) coach (Don) Story and coach Perry. It’s just been a blast to play here. I’m excited to finish out the season on a positive note.”

Fox plans to play baseball in college, but has yet to decide on a school.

M-CHS will conclude its season on the road starting next Friday and Saturday with a trip to Grand Junction and Montrose at 4 and 1:30 p.m.

“We might play some young guys,” said Perry about the upcoming games. “Some of our younger guys might get an opportunity to get some varsity game experience. We want to get our young group experience, as far as learning what it takes at this level. In order to be able to compete down the road, that’s what we’re going to have to do.”

Reach Bobby Abplanalp at bobbya@cortezjournal.com.

Second baseman Major Lackey fields the ball and then throws to first base for an out Thursday against Durango. Enlargephoto

Journal/Sam Green

Second baseman Major Lackey fields the ball and then throws to first base for an out Thursday against Durango.