Thu Mar 31st, 2016
Special to the Drum
If there was a Bobcat who personified Ignacio’s desire to notch at least one victory at the March 18-19, 2016 IHS Invitational, it probably was junior infielder/pitcher Timmy Plehinger.
Able to get a pinch-hit single in the bottom of the seventh inning on Day 1 of the event, but quickly retired on a 6-4 fielder’s choice grounder – hit by leadoff man Anthony Manzanares – for the final out in an 8-0 loss to 3A Salida, and then struck out four of his next five at-bats between a 12-2 loss to 2A Hotchkiss and up to his fourth-inning AB on Day 2 against Cedaredge, Plehinger admitted he wanted badly to join the hit parade.
“I know I needed it; I was down on myself,” he said. “Figured I’d get back up and come at it again!”
Having seen six of seven teammates ahead of him already reach, with three scoring off Bruin reliever Pedro Madaleno – increasing IHS’ advantage to 14-5 – Plehinger at last contributed to the onslaught by belting a one-out, ground-rule double to left-centerfield, plating Kruz Pardo and Tucker Ward and bumping Austin McCaw to third.
“It felt pretty good,” he said of his swing. “I mean, we had a rough start beginning the first two games, but after that we finally started working together as a team, came together. The team performed pretty good.”
Senior Andrew Martinez then followed with an RBI-groundout to second base, scoring McCaw, and Plehinger came across the dish when Madaleno fired a wild pitch past catcher Colton Hoerr with Nathan Herrera in the batter’s box. Herrera would then double to left, and junior Zach Weinreich then drove him in with a double to right (after being walked and plunked his first two appearances since replacing Joe Herrera in the 8-hole).
Trailing 19-5 going into the top of the fifth, CHS gamely managed to strike back – they’d previously lost 10-9 to Buena Vista and defeated Dolores 19-14 on Day 1 – for four runs off Pardo, as they’d done off Plehinger in the fourth before Plehinger requested removal due to an ailing arm without recording an out.
But when Bruin leadoff stick Chris Lindley was thrown out trying to reach third after doubling in Jacob Ostrom, the comeback was halted and Ignacio had its first win of a second spring under head coach Bert Miller.
“We were a little disappointed with the outcome, because we wanted to get a couple more wins than we did,” Ward said. “But it’s a stepping stone because we can see what we can do, where we are good and we can improve to get better.”
Cedaredge struck first in the top of the first. Ward beaned Lindley with his very first offering, and Lindley scored three batters later on a one-out single by junior pitcher Tre’ LaBossiere (L; 2.1 IP, 7 H, 11 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 HB, 5 K). Ward, however, stopped the early charge by fanning Hoerr and 6-man Brayden Blair, then Madaleno, Ostrom and Peter Carlson in order to end the visitors’ second before anything got started.
Taking the lead for good in short order, IHS answered CHS’ initial scratch with three in the bottom of the first. Manzanares, like Lindley, was tagged by LaBossiere leading off, and came around two batters later on a Ward single. McCaw then followed with a single to left, bringing in Ward after 2-man Pardo, who’d walked after Manzanares, scored on a wild pitch earlier in McCaw’s AB.
The Cats (1-2, 0-0 2A/1A San Juan Basin League) then struck for three in the bottom of the second, with Manzanares, Pardo and Ward all reaching – via a single, error by Blair and double, respectively – and scoring for a 6-1 advantage on the Western Slope Leaguers.
“We got the nerves out after yesterday’s games and we came in today looking for a win,” said Pardo (2-3, BB, 4 R, 3 RBI; 2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 HB). “We were a little fired up … the pitchers weren’t throwing as hard as yesterday but we just jumped out on them and kind of made a statement from yesterday’s losses.”
The only Bobcat to get a hit in all three contests, Ward went 1-3 against SHS, 1-3 against HHS and 3-3 with a walk, three runs and two RBI against CHS (now 5-2, 1-0 WSL).
“It’s cool, because we’re going to see a lot of them in districts,” Ward said of not only the win, but the tournament’s big-picture importance. “We could see how we compare to them and what we need to do to grow and improve to compete with those kind of teams.”
Manzanares went 3-3 with a double, four runs and three RBI against Cedaredge. McCaw went 2-3 with a walk, scored once and knocked in three, and Nathan Herrera went 2-3 with a sacrifice fly and scored twice.
Madaleno went 2-3 in defeat with an RBI (his courtesy runner, Cole Stumpf, scored twice), and Ostrom was 2-3 with a run and two batted in. Replacing Blair at second base in the fourth, Jacob Lewis went 1-1 with a fourth-inning walk and fifth-inning double, scored twice and brought one around.
Against Salida, Weinreich took the season-opening loss after lasting 2.1 innings, allowing three earned runs and walking as many Spartans (5) as he struck out. Desmond Lau earned the win for SHS (now 2-2, 0-0 Tri-Peaks) by slinging six scoreless frames, allowing just one hit and striking out seven while scattering five walks.
Senior Rain Rosa took the ‘L’ for Ignacio against Hotchkiss, going three innings and allowing six hits and as many runs without K’ing a single Bulldog. Sophomore counterpart Jonathan Gonzales, meanwhile, needed just 78 pitches to throw a six-inning complete game, and allowed just three hits while whiffing 11 and walking none.
HHS (now 5-0, 0-0 WSL) won the Invitational by finishing a 3-0 tourney run with a 5-0 defeat of BVHS (2-1, 0-0 T-PL) on Day 2. Hammered by Hotchkiss 11-1 after blanking Ignacio on Day 1, Salida elected not to return for the Saturday session, which somewhat fouled up the original schedule but did allow IHS to face Cedaredge rather than struggling SJBL nemesis Dolores – whose reward for losses to BV and CHS was an impromptu Day 2 date with Ignacio’s JV squad.
Up next, IHS’ varsity will welcome non-league 2A Center to the revamped ground on Friday, April 1, beginning at 11:00 a.m., with the Bloomfield (N.M.) JV slated to visit at 11 a.m. the next morning. 3A La Jara Centauri comes calling then on the 7th – a 3 p.m. start – before the Cats begin SJBL work hosting Nucla at noon on April 9.
Results from a snow-shrouded March 26 game with the 4A Durango JV were not reported by press time.