Meeker, Rangely show hurting ’Cats no quarter

Ignacio’s Gabe Tucson attempts to tag a Meeker runner as part of a pick-off play during neutral-site action Friday, April 19 in Montrose, Colo.
Given the start at shortstop, Ignacio’s Cesar Pedregon attempts to throw out a Rangely runner at first base, after another Panther arrives at second before the Bobcat can touch the bag for a force-out during neutral-site play Friday, April 19 in Montrose, Colo.
Ignacio’s Rendon Mestas stares in at his catcher, receiving the sign before pitching against Rangely during neutral-site play on Friday, April 19 in Montrose, Colo.
Ignacio’s Bela Torres cautiously leads off third base during neutral-site action against Meeker, Friday, April 19 in Montrose, Colo. She would score the Bobcats’ first run of the day in a loss to the Cowboys.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

First win escapes Ignacio on neutral field

Though the atmosphere Friday, April 19, was most conducive to a wonderful day of baseball, there was still something off regarding the ‘atmosphere’ about Kevin Ritz Field at Sunset Mesa Sports Complex.

Named for a former Colorado Rockies pitcher (from 1994-98), the venue, elevated above and comparatively isolated from much of metropolitan Montrose, played host to two games involving three travel-ready squads hailing from nowhere close.

And when the action commenced just after 10 a.m., far fewer fans than normal were in attendance – probably the reason the concession stand wasn’t opened – and a much quieter [the cemetery adjacent to the soccer field not far behind the left-center fence couldn’t really be blamed] event was the overall result. Judging by the spacious parking lots, it was rather likely even nearby residents may not have known, much less cared there was action in progress.

Unfortunately for one team, Ignacio, the action was very one-sided. In favor of the other side(s).

Facing non-league Meeker in the opening contest, the Bobcats – the day’s designated ‘home’ team – saw the first four Cowboys reach and score, three via MHS third baseman Eli Hanks’ inside-the-park homer rightfielder Lee-Roy Monroe appeared to have lost in the sky soon after it left the bat. In all, the ’Boys sent 11 batters to the plate – leadoff man Cole Rogers singled twice in the inning – before the first half-inning ended, with the ‘guests’ leaving the sacks packed but having totaled five runs.

A couple hours later, Meeker’s 2A Western Slope League rival Rangely enjoyed a similarly-threatening start; leadoff hitter Tristan Moore decked a triple to right – with Gerald Howe initially manning the position – on the first pitch, helping the Panthers construct a 2-0 advantage before being retired with bases loaded, having sent eight up to the plate.

By the time IHS at last manufactured a run – Bela Torres, via a two-out, bases-loaded walk to Rendon Mestas, after short singles by Lawrence Toledo and Holland Roukema advanced her to third – in Game 1, Meeker’s lead had ballooned to 13-0 and would continue growing until the game was called off after four frames with MHS on top 20-3.

Still seeking their first victory in 2019, the ’Cats enjoyed even less success in Game 2 as only three managed to reach base –two by error (Cesar Pedregon, two bases on a catchable fly misplayed by the leftfielder; Howe, one base on a grounder misplayed by the third baseman) against RHS starter Dylan LeBleu in a 14-0 loss halted after five full innings.

First baseman Clint Talamante-Benavidez’s one-out double to right-center during Ignacio’s last at-bat ended up being the 2A/1A San Juan Basin Leaguers’ lone true hit, as the right-handed LeBleu (W; CG) struck out 11 and walked none.

Homering in the top of the fifth off Pedregon, beginning his third inning in relief of starter Gabe Tucson (L; 2 IP, 11 H, 10 R, 8 ER, 4 BB, 2 HB, 2 K), Moore paced all players offensively by finishing 5-for-5 with five runs scored and two RBI. Catcher Stetson Cudo was 3-4 with a run and an RBI, LeBleu was 2-5 with two runs and as many RBI, and third baseman Grady Nielsen ended up 1-1 with two walks, was also hit by a pitch, and plated three.

Roukema (2 IP, 8 H, 12 R, 6 ER, 6 BB, 4 K) took the loss against Meeker, giving way to Mestas after the second inning, while Cowboy lefty Josh Murphy (4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, BB, HB, 7 K) earned a complete-game win on the mound.

Hanks finished 2-4 for the victors, with three runs scored and three RBI. Second baseman Ryan Phelan went 3-3 with a double and was plunked once, scored three times and plated one, while Murphy officially went 0-for-0 but drew four walks in his four plate appearances and scored four runs.

Tagged by a second-inning delivery, Tucson went 1-1 with a run – scored in the bottom of the fourth via a fielder’s-choice grounder off Brady McCaw’s stick – while Howe finished 1-2 with a run, courtesy a two-out Toledo (2-3, RBI) single after Torres (0-2, R) very nearly lined an extra-base knock over surprised, but well-positioned centerfielder Colten Wille.

With a little bit of time to recover, Ignacio (0-11, 0-4 SJBL) will next resume league play Tuesday, April 30, with a doubleheader in Dolores. First pitch is currently scheduled for 2 p.m. Results from the Bobcats’ 4/23 league double at home versus Dove Creek, also a 2 p.m. start.

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