Thu Apr 27th, 2017
Special to the Drum
With a strikeout total matching his jersey number (12), Zach Weinreich had extra reason to smile as the fifth and last Bobcat senior introduced to fans present at IHS Field on Saturday, April 22, following a Senior Day conquest of 2A/1A San Juan Basin League nemesis Dolores.
“You know, Dolores … everyone knows that we don’t really like them too much, and it just felt good,” he said. “I mean, our class has been through a lot of ups and downs throughout our four years of playing baseball, so it was just good to kind of end it on a solid note here at home.”
“Zach pitched a great game,” said senior leftfielder Dalton Labarthe. “I’m glad he did, and I’m glad we got that win. It’s Dolores and they’re usually one of our biggest rivals.”
But not so much against a surging Ignacio squad bent on closing out an unusually busy week with a third win – following a 9-2 triumph on the 18th over 3A Bayfield, and a 6-4 win over SJBL member Dove Creek on the 20th – in a four-game home stand.
Ready to make amends for a 19-6 loss the afternoon before to league-leading Nucla (7-8, 4-0 SJBL), the Cats struck first in the bottom of the first against DHS with junior Marcus Chapman leading off being hit by a Justin Purkat pitch, and later scoring on a one-out, fielder’s-choice grounder off classmate Kai Roubideaux’s bat. Roubideaux then scored three batters later when senior Juanito Medina singled to right.
IHS’ lead grew to 3-0 in the home half of the third, when Nate Herrera scored on a Weinreich sacrifice fly, three batters after singling up the middle, stealing second base, and advancing to third on an infield single by senior Timmy Plehinger-Williams.
The Bears (5-11, 1-3) managed their lone run in bizarre fashion in the top of the fourth when cleanup hitter Dakota Smith apparently flew out to Joe Herrera in right, but was awarded first base on a baffling catcher-interference call against Nate Herrera, who’d appeared to have kept his mitt out of Smith’s swing radius.
Smith then stole second, reached third on David Schmittel’s groundout to shortstop Trace Lovelace, and scored on a ground-rule double over Labarthe’s head by Beck Anderson.
But that would be it for the guests. Weinreich then fanned five of the next six he’d face, and allowed just a Smith single in the sixth as he’d complete his three-hit complete game by getting Brandon Ward to fly to center.
All told, the lefty retired Dolores in order in the first, fifth and seventh innings and faced just 27 batters.
“I mean, I’ve gotten over a hundred pitches before and it doesn’t affect me,” said Weinreich. “It was just good to start something and finish it, get the ‘W.’”
“I put myself in a good position to get a lot of strikeouts,” he continued. “I just executed, stayed ahead in the count for…actually, the first time all year! I was starting ahead…to where I wasn’t always trying to catch up.”
Roubideaux finished with three RBI and a run on 1-for-4 hitting, and Chapman was 2-3 with two runs and a ribbie. Medina went 3-3 with three singles and drove in a run, and Lovelace was 1-2 with a double, walk and run.
“It’s been a busy week; we’ve had four games in a row. And today’s game went a lot faster; I kind of liked that,” Labarthe (1-3, R) said. “I’m kind of sad it went by this fast – Senior Day – but I’m glad we … made all the parents proud and all the fans proud.”
Purkat took the loss for DHS, giving up five hits and three earned runs in three innings while walking two, striking out two and plunking one before being lifted in favor of Ward (3 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, K). Smith, Anderson and leadoff man Brennan Hite each went 1-3 offensively.
The Bobcats improved to 7-8 overall, 4-2 in league with a 3 p.m. non-leaguer versus 3A Montezuma-Cortez up next on Thursday, April 27. Results were unavailable at press time.
“We’ve got to keep momentum going,” Weinreich said. “Just keep the intensity up, keep playing hard.”
“We’ve just got to play smart … like, minus all the errors,” agreed Labarthe. “Get everything perfect if we want to have a good chance in districts.”