Pirates sweep Falcons, IML here Saturday

Picking up the speed they’ve needed all season, with spot-on pitching and powerful bats, Pirates baseball took two easy wins last Saturday in a doubleheader against the Centauri Falcons, winning 12-2 in the first game and 14-4 in the second.

On a perfect day for high-country baseball, the Pirates clipped the wings of the visiting Falcons, not allowing Centauri any chance to rule the field. With strong pitching from sophomore Austin Jackson, who went the distance on the mound for the first game, the Pirates dominated early and never let up. Allowing a single Centauri run in the first inning, Pagosa responded with two runs of their own on a double two-run RBI from senior Mike Henderson.

With the Pirates hitting around in the second, Pagosa bats were on fire, shutting out the Falcons while exploding with eight runs of their own. Shutting out Centauri the next two innings as well, Pagosa took two more runs in the third but couldn’t capitalize in the fourth. A single run by Centauri in the fifth was not nearly enough for the Falcons and the game was called mid-inning due to the 10-run rule, with Pagosa winning 12-2.

Although credit was due to the entire Pirate line-up, coach Justin Caler gave kudos to senior Ryan Hujus in the leadoff spot, saying, “He’s going to have to do that again this weekend if we’re going to win,” referring to the IML tournament to be played at the PSHS baseball field this Saturday.

Taking the mound in the second game, freshman Ty Lovato also went the distance, logging seven strikeouts for the game and holding the Falcons to just four runs, scoring his very first varsity win. Answering a single Falcon run in the first with four runs of their own, the Pirates never looked back. After a scoreless second inning and three runs for each team in the third, the Pirates caught fire in the fourth, shutting out the Falcons at the top of the inning while scoring six runs at the bottom of the fourth. With another Falcon shutout in the fifth, the Pirates single run at the bottom of the inning clinched the game on the 10-run rule.

Sophomore Austin Devooght was credited with three hits and four runs for the game, while senior Don Ames had two hits and two RBIs. Junior Jordan Caler went three for four in the game and freshman designated hitter Ricky Belarde went two for two with a single RBI and two stolen bases. Giving credit to all his kids, Coach Caler had special praise for the freshman hurler Lovato, saying, “He keeps the ball down, he’s very effective. He’s going to really give our team an edge over the next few years.”

With the wins on Saturday, the Pirates are 4-13 for the season and 2-4 for conference standings in the Intermountain League.

IML tournament action begins at 12:30 p.m. Saturday when the Pirates meet the Bayfield Wolverines. Despite a doubleheader loss in Bayfield earlier this month, Caler is nonetheless confident that the Pirates will meet the winner of the Centauri/Monte Vista match for a shot at the district title at 3:30 p.m.

jim@pagosasun.com