Ignacio’s Ambrose Valdez (12) dives past Sargent catcher Wyatt Cross to score a run during Game 1 of the Bobcats’ home doubleheader Saturday, April 29. IHS swept SHS 10-0, 10-0 on Senior/Parent Appreciation Day.
Ignacio's Phillip Quintana, right, receives congratulations from Stoney White Thunder (10) after scoring a run during Game 1 of the Bobcats' home doubleheader Saturday, April 29. IHS swept visiting Sargent 10-0, 10-0 on Senior/Parent Appreciation Day, with Quintana earning the win on the mound in Game 2.
Photo Credit: Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Photo Credit: Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
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PULLING RANK: ’Cats crush Sargent

IHS wins 10-0, 10-0 on Senior Day

Breaking out to leads of 5-0 through one inning of the first game Saturday, April 29, and 2-0 in the second, and never really relenting the rest of the way in each, there weren’t many situations facing Ignacio which could have been called ‘clutch.’

In fact, on Senior/Parent Appreciation Day at IHS Field, the Bobcats more or less had to create their own as visiting Sargent hardly posed a threat, totaling just five hits and zero runs in the non-league doubleheader.

But when an opportunity arose, Duke Baker’s bunch capitalized. Especially in the bottom of the third inning in Game 2.

After Rylan Maez and Stoney White Thunder drew walks against SHS starter Kade Temple, Elliott Hendren cracked an RBI-single to left plating Maez, increasing IHS’ lead at the time to 5-0. Marcus Maez then drew a walk to load the bases, but Dylan McCaw lined up the middle and into an unassisted double play catching Hendren off second base.

Suddenly with two outs, Zane Olguin stepped next into the right-handed batter’s box. Impressing his second-year skipper with a pressure-packed and yet quite relaxed plate appearance, Olguin – Baker’s No. 9 hitter – slashed an opposite-field single into right-center, scoring White Thunder and Marcus Maez, and alertly advanced to second via the Farmers’ relay throw home.

“I was on him there for a second, and he proved me wrong! Zane got a great two-out hit,” said a grinning Baker. “He did his job and I’m proud of him. The bottom half, six through nine, did amazing … rolled the lineup over like I expect.”

“It was just something different; a little slower than normal,” Olguin said, recalling Temple’s delivery. “We’re not used to seeing slower stuff so at this point; we’re just throwing our hands at it. And I just kept running!”

Said running soon became the Bobcats’ eighth run. After gaining third base via a botched Temple pick-off, Olguin calmly trotted across the plate when Temple (L; 4 IP, 8 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 7 BB, 6 K) balked to IHS leadoff hitter Devante Montoya – who’d earn a base-on-balls, but then be picked off 1-3-6 to unexpectedly end the inning.

The damage was done, however; after SHS catcher Wyatt Cross (1-1, HBP) singled off junior Phillip Quintana (W, CG; 5 IP, H, BB, HB, 8 K) beginning the top of the fourth, then took second via a throwing error with one out, the visitors’ last five hitters were retired consecutively. Bobcat Eppie Quintana, meanwhile, led off the home half of the fourth tripling to right, and scored on Phillip Quintana’s subsequent groundout to Sargent third baseman Liam Ellithorpe.

And in the bottom of the fifth, Ignacio polished off a 10-0, 10-0 sweep. Marcus Maez walked leading off against SHS reliever Trenton Lovelace (0+ IP, R, BB, HB), and took second when pinch-hitter Lane Johnson – saluted prior to Game 1 along with fellow seniors Eppie Quintana, Olguin and McCaw (for whom he was batting) – was hit by a pitch while looking to bunt.

Which in turn brought up, as fortune would have it, Olguin.

And given the chance to end the game via the 10-run mercy rule, Olguin did not fail. With Maez now leading off the hot corner, Olguin hit a sharp grounder down the third-base line which should have trapped Maez in a rundown. Ellithorpe, however, forgot the game situation and rushed a wild throw across the diamond which not only allowed Olguin (1-3, R, 2 RBI) to reach via error, but Maez (0-0, 3 BB, 3 R) to score easily.

“We didn’t want to go in with balloon heads … then come out flat and not do anything,” said Eppie Quintana (3-3, 2B, 3B, 2 R, RBI). “We wanted to come in humble, thinking these guys could beat us … and then we put up ten, got to go home early.”

Phillip Quintana went 2-3 with a double, run and RBI in his own support, and White Thunder ended up 1-2 with a walk, run and two RBI – via a first-inning single into right. Montoya and Rylan Maez each went 0-1 with two walks and a run as Ignacio, remaining 3-1 in 2A/1A San Juan Basin League play, improved to 9-6 overall.

Cross and Trenton Paskett (0-1, BB) were the only players reaching base for SHS (5-7, 4-4 2A Southern Peaks).

In Game 1, Ellithorpe led off against Eppie Quintana doubling into left, but would be stranded at third when Quintana (W, CG; 5 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 0 HB, 10 K) got counterpart Burke Temple to ground out to shortstop Montoya.

The ’Cats then took full advantage in the bottom half of the inning. Temple promptly plunked both Montoya and Eppie Quintana, walked Phillip Quintana, and tagged Rylan Maez – all in succession, with Montoya scoring via a passed ball during the younger Quintana’s at-bat.

Sargent head coach Terry Van Bibber had seen enough and called third baseman Fernando Venzor to the mound, but White Thunder greeted him with a sacrifice fly to center scoring the Quintanas. Ambrose Valdez then singled home Maez, closing the book on Temple (L; 0+ IP, 0 H, 4 R, 3 ER, BB, 3 HB), and would score two ’Cats later via a McCaw single to center.

Highlighted by a Phillip Quintana ground-rule double to center, Ignacio then scored four runs in the bottom of the second and added another in the third (Eppie Quintana, via a Rylan Maez sacrifice fly). And though Venzor (4 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 2 ER, BB, 2 HB, K) actually retired the last six ’Cats he’d face, the outcome was never in doubt.

Driving home that point, Eppie Quintana then struck out pinch-hitters Kaleb Watson and Kayden Wright leading off the Farmers’ fifth, then ended the game fanning Ellithorpe with an unnerving knuckleball. He finished 1-for-3 in defeat, while Cross, Burke Temple and Lovelace each went 1-2.

“I just wanted to go up there and not let any of the nerves, emotions get to me. Just throw my heart out and do the best I can for everybody,” Quintana said, regarding his starting assignment on the special day. “Thank goodness for Phillip working his ass off for me back there, my defense doing their job, and Coach calling pitches when it’s time to call them.”

“And it hit home really close – like, ‘Here it is, my last home game,’” he added. “I just wanted to leave it all out there.”

Hit twice by pitch and also able to reach via error, he finished 0-1 offensively but scored three runs. Phillip Quintana ended up 2-2 with a walk, two runs and one batted in, and Rylan Maez 1-1 with two runs and a ribbie.

McCaw went 1-2 and was hit by a pitch, Olguin went 0-2 but drew an RBI-walk, and Valdez finished 1-2 with a run and two batted in. White Thunder ended up 0-2, but reached via error and scored via Olguin’s walk.

“We’re playing more like a family and less like a ‘team,’” declared Olguin.

“Phillip pitched great, Eppie pitched great, and our batting was there again,” Baker said. “Defense was – when (Sargent) put the ball in play – on point; the boys came out and had fun, played great all the way around.”

Looking ahead at the schedule, Ignacio will see action Saturday, May 6, on the road at SPL member Center. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 11 a.m. Results from IHS’ 5/2 two-fer at Nucla (7-8, 0-4 SJBL) were unavailable at press time.

“Coach Randy (Gabriel) up there’s going to have his boys ready to play, for sure. And that’s for the league championship so we’ve got to get it,” said Baker. “We’re going to go up, play Ignacio Bobcat ball … and have fun doing it.”

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