Iaasic Pena
Juanito Medina
Nathan Atencio
Tucker Ward (5)
Ignacio catcher Iaasic Pena looks to throw down to first base to attempt a double play after forcing out Dolores' Josh McCoy (5) at home plate during the Bobcats' San Juan Basin League opener, April 11 upon Gonzales Field at Joe Rowell Park.
Ignacio's Juanito Medina takes last-minute practice hacks in the on-deck circle before leading off the Bobcats' San Juan Basin League opener, April 11th in Dolores against the Bears upon Gonzales Field at Joe Rowell Park.
With shortstop Timmy Plehinger (9) backing him up, Ignacio second baseman Nathan Atencio tries tagging out Dolores' Jalen Balderrama (10) on an attempted steal during the Bobcats' San Juan Basin League opener, April 11 upon Gonzales Field at Joe Rowell Park.
Ignacio's Tucker Ward (5) trots past Dolores catcher Dalton Madden with one of the Bobcats' runs during their San Juan Basin League opener, April 11 upon the Bears' Gonzales Field at Joe Rowell Park.
Photo Credit: Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Photo Credit: Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Photo Credit: Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Photo Credit: Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Thumbnail image of Iaasic Pena
Thumbnail image of Juanito Medina
Thumbnail image of Nathan Atencio
Thumbnail image of Tucker Ward (5)

Bobcats break into league play

Proud to still be supporting their younger teammate, IHS’ Zach Weinreich, Austin McCaw and Javan Webb were just as happy to be in the bleachers and not in Marcus Chapman’s spikes when Dolores’ Kayla Davis dug into the right-handed batters’ box during junior-varsity action Saturday afternoon, April 11.

The Kitty Wallace Show, highlighting the preceding varsity game, had already impressed the regulars – particularly Webb, watching someone who could equal his own stretching ability around first base – enough.

But in a contest which saw the Bobcat JV simultaneously utilize Leela Rosa at first, Lea Monroe at second base and Abriana Silva in right field, one would be remiss to omit the contribution of the day’s fifth girl stepping between the foul lines of Gonzales Field at Joe Rowell Park.

For rarely since – if ever at all – Major League Baseball’s Eddie Gaedel has such intimidation in baseball been seen. And Chapman had no choice but to playing the role of Bob Cain, 18 years and three calendar days after the passing of the Detroit Tiger six-footer who walked the 3’7” St. Louis Brown on August 19, 1951.

[In one of the sport’s great ironies, Cain, acquired by Detroit just that May in a trade with the Chicago White Sox, would play ’52 and ’53 – his last full seasons in the bigs – for the same Browns.]

“Yeah I was wondering … it was confusing,” laughed Chapman, who nearly domed DHS’ freshman four-foot-something with his first throw to catcher Tyler Beebe. “I was like, ‘She’s short … going to be a little difficult!’”

“About a four-inch strike zone!” noted pitching coach, and 2013 MLB Draftee (Kansas City Royals, 35th round) Clay Miller. “Oh man, it’s tough! You’ve just got to throw and hope!”

Varsity-game umpire Mark Maddox had to feel lucky he wasn’t peering over Beebe’s shoulder and ruling on Chapman’s deliveries as Davis – who, unlike Gaedel, also saw action in the field at second – ultimately drew a walk, and nearly came around to score with a feet-first slide but was denied as the Bears’ third out was made.

“It didn’t go too bad,” Chapman said, of his unusual moment on the mound as well as Ignacio’s 18-4 romp.

Unfortunately the varsity hadn’t fared as well, beaten 11-3 in its 2A/1A San Juan Basin League opener.

Able to strand IHS leadoff man Juanito Medina at third base in the top of the first inning, Dolores countered with three runs – including leadoff man Dalton Madden – in the home half. And also left senior Kellen Gatzke at third and Tel Hamilton, who’d cracked a two-out, two-RBI double, at second – a situation rectified in the bottom of the second when 9-hole hitter Jalen Balderrama and, later, 3-man Justin Purkat scored.

McCaw, who started the game playing third base and ended it up on the hill as Ignacio’s third pitcher in the game, brought in the visitors’ first run in the top of the third when 4-man Iaasic Pena reached on a throwing error by Gatzke at shortstop, but plating more individuals quickly became a tough task for IHS to accomplish.

Bear starter Stetson Hamilton (W; 5 IP, 4 K) gave up seven hits and also walked three before being lifted for Gatzke (2 IP, H, 0 R, BB, K), and the duo combined to maroon nine Cats before IHS 2B Nate Atencio struck out looking in the top of the seventh for the engagement’s last out.

Wallace, a junior, paired with second baseman Josh McCoy to offer essential defensive aid. She managed to retire Beebe, ending the top of the second inning, with her right toes on the base after a spectacular stretch to receive McCoy’s throw after he ranged far to his left – almost short right field, in fact – to smother Beebe’s bouncer.

And in the guests’ sixth, McCoy somehow managed to zip a near-strike to a fully extended Wallace and complete a 1-4-3 double play off Medina’s bat after surviving Raphael Herrera’s takeout slide up the middle.

“We all put a part in; it wasn’t just one of us, it was all of us together,” said Wallace. “Good team effort.”

Junior Tucker Ward (L; 4 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 3 ER) joined first baseman Andrew Martinez in singling and scoring during Ignacio’s fifth, cutting the deficit down to a more-manageable 6-3, but DHS (4-4, 2-0 SJBL) decisively broke things open with five runs in the bottom of the frame.

Leftfielder Guy Wallace, Kitty Wallace’s cousin, and Tel Hamilton (freshman brother of senior Stetson) started the rally by reaching on consecutive Herrera errors at third, and scored on two-out singles off Timmy Plehinger (IP, 2 H, 5 R, 3 ER, BB, K) by Madden and McCoy (3-3, SAC-FLY, 2 R, 2 RBI).

Plehinger then plunked Purkat to load the bases and Stetson Hamilton (2-3, BB, R, 2 RBI) singled past Herrera to plate McCoy and Purkat (1-2, HBP, BB, 3 R) for what ended up being the game’s final runs.

“I believe we’re a lot better than our record shows right now,” Madden said. “We’ve played a few tougher teams in some tournaments, but we’re ready to show some people what we’re made of. Ready to prove ourselves.”

Ward, who went 2-for-4 with a run, struck out six Bears while walking just two.

“I was just feeding off their energy,” he said. “They were talking bad about us a lot, so I…wanted to make them be quiet.”

McCaw finished 1-4 and Martinez 1-3 with a walk and an RBI. Medina and Pena each went 1-4, and Atencio and Beebe (rightfielder in the varsity game) each 1-3 as Ignacio dipped to 2-6 (0-1 SJBL) overall after previous non-league losses at 2A Center (9 to 8 on 4/3, played in Alamosa) and 3A La Jara Centauri (3-2 on 4/9).

“We just didn’t play defense like we know we can,” Ward said. “It’s hard to play when you’re missing a lot of balls … had a lot of errors.”

Up next, Ignacio will head south to face the 4A Bloomfield, N.M., JV at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 17, then return to welcome Dove Creek to SunUte Field on the 18th for a SJBL doubleheader starting at 11 a.m. IHS will then complete their three-game series with the Bulldogs on April 22 at 3 p.m. out in Dolores County.

Results from the Bobcats’ SJBL visit from Nucla on April 14 were unavailable by the Drum’s deadline.



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