Cortez Raptors rip up season

Youth baseball team finishes 2nd at Telluride Baseball Festival

Dayne Black pitches Friday for the Cortez Raptors against the Bayfield Bats at the Telluride Baseball Festival tournament. The Raptors won, 6-3. Enlargephoto

Photo courtesy of Francis Roberson

Dayne Black pitches Friday for the Cortez Raptors against the Bayfield Bats at the Telluride Baseball Festival tournament. The Raptors won, 6-3.

The Cortez Raptors concluded play in the 15-16-year-old Farmington (N.M.) Mickey Mantle League on July 8, compiling an excellent 15-4-1 record.

To top off their season, the Raptors entered the Telluride Baseball Festival wood-bat tournament taking second-place out of eight teams last Friday through Sunday.

The Raptors started the tournament with a doubleheader on Friday meeting the Grand Valley Hawks in the first game. Behind the superb pitching of Kellen Gatzke (two strikeouts, four walks, five hits and no runs), Cortez racked up a 5-0 win.

Gatzke also delivered a “two-rrific” offensive performance, going 2-for-2 with a double and two runs batted in. Eddie Martinez and Dayne Black each hammered out doubles with Martinez, Raudy Castillo and Konnar McGee each adding one RBI. Ian Roberson, Bridger Brenner and Andrew Laymon added hits, as well as a stolen base each, to the Raptors effort.

In the second game of the set, the Raptors tested their skills against the Bayfield Bats, emerging victorious, 6-3, despite playing four innings in pouring rain. Black recorded 10 strikeouts, seven walks and four hits with three runs in six innings for the win. Laymon pitched the final inning, tallying one strikeout, one walk, no hits and no runs for the save.

Brenner, McGee and Black each went 1-of-2 at the plate adding a RBI apiece to their season totals. Castillo also added a RBI while, Taren Lanier added two RBIs to his total. Roberson and Martinez hit in the game as well, while Kevin Morales, Joe Whyte and Laymon each added a stolen base.

On Saturday, the Raptors defeated the Saguaro High School Sabercats White team from Scottsdale, Ariz., 7-1, during a game shortened by heavy rain. McGee pitched for the Raptors, recording two Ks, four walks, one hit and one run.

Laymon proved to be the game’s outstanding hitter, going a perfect 2-for-2 with a double and three RBIs. Castillo added two RBIs, while Black recorded one and Whyte hit a sacrifice-fly RBI. Morales and Lanier added hits as well. Roberson and Brenner each recorded a stolen base, and Whyte tacked on two stolen bases in the game.

In the championship game on Sunday, the Raptors played the Saguaro Sabercats junior varsity Gold team. Despite the field being muddy and rain-soaked, the Raptors came within three runs of the 16-17-year-old Sabercats, only losing 7-4 and taking second in the tournament.

Gatzke started on the hill for the Raptors, pitching two innings and giving up two walks, four hits and seven runs. Black took over in the third inning, going five innings with a strikeout, no walks, three hits and no runs.

Whyte, McGee, Gatzke and Laymon each tallied an RBI. Also recording hits in the game were Morales, Roberson, Brenner and Martinez. Morales stole two bases in the game, while Castillo, Martinez and McGee took one.

Cortez finished the season with an 18-5-1 overall record.

The team wishes to thank everyone for all their support this baseball season.

The Cortez Raptors 15-16-year-old baseball team pose in Telluride on Sunday after taking second-place in the Telluride Baseball Festival tournament. Front row from left, Kevin Morales, Eddie Martinez, Raudy Castillo, bat boy John Whyte, Taren Lanier, Bridger Brenner and Joe Whyte; and, back row, coach Matt Betts, coach Don Haley, Dayne Black, Konnar McGee, Kellen Gatzke, Randy Haley, Andrew Laymon, Ian Roberson, coach Francis Roberson and head coach Robert Laymon. Enlargephoto

Photo courtesy of Francis Roberson

The Cortez Raptors 15-16-year-old baseball team pose in Telluride on Sunday after taking second-place in the Telluride Baseball Festival tournament. Front row from left, Kevin Morales, Eddie Martinez, Raudy Castillo, bat boy John Whyte, Taren Lanier, Bridger Brenner and Joe Whyte; and, back row, coach Matt Betts, coach Don Haley, Dayne Black, Konnar McGee, Kellen Gatzke, Randy Haley, Andrew Laymon, Ian Roberson, coach Francis Roberson and head coach Robert Laymon.

Joe Whyte rounds second base at the Telluride Baseball Festival tournament last weekend. The Cortez Raptors took second in the tourney. Enlargephoto

Photo courtesy of Francis Roberson

Joe Whyte rounds second base at the Telluride Baseball Festival tournament last weekend. The Cortez Raptors took second in the tourney.