Fri May 12th, 2017
Special to the Drum
After a stretch in which they won three games consecutively and five out of six to set up their May 6 regular-season finale at non-league Montezuma-Cortez, the Ignacio Bobcats’ fuel tank at last went dry as the Panthers prevailed 10-0 in five innings at McAndrew Field.
Led by two runs on 2-for-3 hitting from junior Casey Compton, and two scores on 1-2 stickwork from senior Coby Baer, the Panthers (10-9, 7-3 3A Intermountain) jumped out to a 4-0 lead after one inning and increased it to 7-0 through two in exacting revenge for a 3-2 loss April 27 at IHS Field.
Linchpin Jasen Engel went 2-4 with a double, run and three RBI as well for the victors. Baer also doubled and walked once, while Compton smacked a triple. Senior Briggs Durbin was 2-2 with a walk, run and an RBI, while junior Cutter Matthews finished 0-for-2 but drew two free passes, scored twice and plated one.
Coming off an unplanned game – and 7-5 home win – versus 2A Center, IHS reportedly managed just one hit – by sophomore Rendon Mestas – off Engel (0 BB, 6 K) as the junior still managed to face the minimum 15 batters in earning a complete-game win.
Responsible for M-CHS’ initial seven scratches, senior Zach Weinreich, who’d received an unlucky no-decision after starting against the non-league Vikings, took the loss after completing just one frame and walking seven before giving way to classmate Timmy Plehinger-Williams.
Still 9-9 overall after a second-place 4-2 run through the 2A/1A San Juan Basin League in 2017, the Bobcats will next play in this weekend’s combined 2A-District 3/5 Tournament. Unfortunately, play began Thursday, May 11, and results from Ignacio’s home game that afternoon versus Dolores (6-12, 2-4 SJBL) were unavailable at press time.
The winner of 4-seed IHS and 5-seed DHS was to then challenge No. 1 Paonia (19-0, 6-0 Western Slope) at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 13, on neutral ground at Grand Valley High School in Parachute. Two seed Hotchkiss (14-4, 4-2 WSL) then follows against either No. 3 Meeker or No. 6 Rangely – who squared off on May 11 at MHS – and the two remaining survivors will then battle for the automatic berth into regionals.
The 16-team Class 2A regional round is set for May 19-20, with the ‘Final Four’ set for May 27. Each of the classification’s eight districts is guaranteed to send one team to regionals, with the remaining eight qualifiers determined by RPI, and all 16 then seeded into the bracket by RPI (avoiding regular-season match-ups when possible). As of Monday afternoon, May 8, the Cats stood 23rd in the updated index with a 0.479 mark. By comparison, Calhan (10-6 overall) ranked 16th with a 0.542 figure.
That is to say, it’s do-or-die time for Ignacio Baseball.