Bobcats split home pair with … Bobcats

With Westcliffe-based Custer County third baseman Zach Fischer (11) looking on, Ignacio's Nate Hendren (6) celebrates his pinch-hit RBI-triple during Game 2 of the Bobcats' April 2 home doubleheader. Hendren's hit brought in IHS' only run in the contest.
Ignacio's Devante Montoya (11) and Jacob Gallegos strategize quickly before batting against Westcliffe-based Custer County Sat., April 2, at IHS.
Ignacio's Rylan Maez (23) slides around the tag of Westcliffe-based Custer County's A.J. Stoltzfus during action Sat., April 2, at IHS. Missing the base, Maez would have to – and somehow did – do some fancy footwork to beat Stoltzfus' follow-up attempts and be ruled safe.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

IHS wins by, loses by seven against CC

Custer County pitcher Garrett Oloman’s increased velocity throughout the second game of an April 2 doubleheader certainly made it much more difficult for the Ignacio Bobcats to match their offensive output from earlier in the day. 

But despite being held to one-twelfth of their Game 1 run total, seeing his Game 1 winning pitcher break up Oloman’s potential no-hitter with a fourth-inning single, then the ’Cats spoil the junior’s shutout in sequential style – a fifth-inning Zane Olguin double followed by pinch-hitter Nate Hendren’s RBI-triple two batters later – left head coach Duke Baker all the more confident in his crew’s development. 

“We’re young, but we have great athletes all around,” he said. “Got some kids who haven’t seen a baseball in seven years, and … we’re trying to coach ’em up to be the best athletes they can be. They’re listening and that’s all I ask as a coach.” 

“That first game, we came out energized – just like how I wanted them to come out. Then the second game, you know, we kind of came lackadaisical here and there, but that’s just the way it is with these doubleheaders, you know?” 

And despite being dealt a seven-run (8-1) loss in Game 2 by the like-named Bobcats, spirits in IHS’ dugout were still high as a seven-run (12-5) Game 1 triumph went down as Baker’s first win as varsity boss, and IHS’ first in the 2022 season. 

CCHS managed to take a 2-0 first-inning lead via two Ignacio fielding errors sandwiching a Ben Penkoff double off Eppie Quintana, but IHS quickly capitalized on hurler A.J. Stoltzfus’ inaccuracy – plus two Penkoff throwing errors on steals of third base – scoring three runs while logging just one hit. 

Back-to-back doubles by Devante Montoya (2-3, BB, 2 R, RBI) and Jacob Gallegos (1-2, 2 HBP, 3 R, RBI) triggered a four-run second inning, with all four coming after both designated hitter Wade Dunbar and rightfielder Phillip Quintana struck out getting it started. Down 7-2, Custer County managed to manufacture three error-aided, unearned runs in the top of the third before Quintana got Stoltzfus to bounce back to the mound with bases still loaded. 

Dunbar (1-3, R) then greeted Stoltzfus in the home half of the frame with a double and reached third when Elliot Hendren grounded out to the right side of the infield. Montoya then legged out an infield single, plating Dunbar, and after Gallegos was hit by a pitch, Quintana (2-4, FC, 3 R, 3 RBI) scored Montoya and Gallegos with a single to left – ending Stoltzfus’ day on the bump. 

Phillip Quintana (1-3, HBP, 3 R) then welcomed reliever Jack Doughty with an RBI-single to left and would soon come home from third base when Doughty (3.2 IP, 2 H, ER, BB, 2 K) balked to Jace Carmenoros. 

“We had a couple errors that first inning, but we came back from them and picked it up, played good throughout the whole game,” beamed Baker. “Hits were there, our defense was there and Eppie pitched phenomenally.” 

Completing his start, Quintana protected IHS’ 12-5 advantage by allowing just three CC ’Cats to reach base – via a fourth inning walk to Penkoff, a sixth-inning Chad Lewis single up the middle, and a seventh inning Penkoff single to right – the rest of the way. And after getting Wes Jones to ground into a Gallegos-to-Rylan Maez 6-3 double play rolling up Penkoff, Quintana (7 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K) put the game in the history book by striking out six-hole hitter Ty Bomgardner. 

Batting sixth in Baker’s order, Maez went 3-for-4 with a double in the victory. Penkoff ended up 2-2 with two walks and as many runs scored, Zach Fischer was 2-3 with an RBI, and Oloman reached twice via error and scored twice despite going 0-4. Stoltzfus (L; 2.1 IP, 7 H, 11 R, 4 ER, BB, 3 HB, 3 K) went 0-3 and Doughty 0-1. 

Given the ball to begin Game 2, Montoya (2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, HB, 2 K) would take the loss and technically reached base only in the bottom of the seventh inning, when he hit a game-ending fielder’s-choice grounder to shortstop Aiden Zehr, who stepped on second base to retire Marcus Maez. 

Phillip Quintana (3 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, K) and Gallegos (2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K) also saw time on the hill for Ignacio, which ended the day standing 1-4 overall while Oloman (W; CG, 7 IP, 4 H, ER, 3 BB, 9 K) and CCHS improved to 2-2. 

Olguin and each Quintana ended up 1-for-3 in defeat, while Nate Hendren went 1-2 and Rylan Maez 0-1 with two walks. Hitting ninth for head coach Steve Schultz, Joey Vergilio went 3-4 with three RBI and Oloman 1-3 with a sacrifice fly, walk, run and RBI. Bomgardner and Stoltzfus each scored twice while going 1-for-3 (Bomgardner would also reach base via walk and Stoltzfus via hit-by-pitch), and Jones was 1-3 with a walk, run and RBI but did hit into a fifth-inning 4-6-3 DP. 

“Errors were something I wanted to cut out, and we did a great job. Our defense was on point – Jake made a couple huge plays in the infield – and our outfield was on point … let nothing by,” said Baker. “Pitching, we’re hit-or-miss with a couple guys, but I’ve got all confidence that they’re going to step up these next couple games. We’ll be just fine.” 

Up next, Ignacio will visit Monte Vista on the 16th for two games, with action commencing at 11 a.m. Results from a home date with Del Norte – originally set for Saturday, April 9, but rescheduled to Thursday, April 7 – were unavailable at press time. 

EXTRA ALTERATIONS 

Scheduled for Tuesday, April 19, IHS’ 2A/1A San Juan Basin League doubleheader at Dove Creek will now begin at 3 p.m. Also, the two-fer Saturday, April 23, versus 2A Fairplay South Park has been scrubbed, with the non-league Burros instead visiting 2A Denver Academy that day for a non-league pair. 

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