In a game where the scores were almost as high as the wind chill, the Pagosa Springs High School baseball team defeated Dolores by a score of 15-12 Tuesday afternoon in Dolores.
Things started out less than hopeful for the Pirates following Dolores’ nine runs in the bottom of the first inning. With one run scored and two outs, the Pirates looked to escape the inning with minimal damage.
Then the Bears found their stride.
On a series of two walks and a number of hits that found open spaces, eight more runs came around before Pagosa recorded the last out.
In the second inning, however, the Pirates seemed to find their stride, scoring six runs.
Tyler Sharp reached base on a dropped ball on a strikeout to start the inning, which was followed by Pirates Jared Burch and Shawn Blanchard walking.
With the bases loaded, senior Paul Hoffman reached on an error, pushing Sharp across the plate.
With the bases still loaded, freshman Koby Close hit a bases-clearing double.
Jordan Caler added another hit, scoring Close. Mason Laverty followed with another hit to score Caler, bringing the Pirates’ total runs to six for the inning.
In the bottom of the inning, the Bears answered with one run to bring the score to 10-6, Dolores.
“It’s good to only let them score one,” said Pirate coach Dave Close, versus giving up a rally, as the Pirates have done previously this season.
The Pirates continued their stride in the top of the third, adding five runs to the scoreboard.
Senior Preston Dale reached on an error that was followed by a Burch base hit. Then, with one out, sophomore Austin DeVooght recorded his first home run of the season and brought the Pirates within one run.
Following the homer, Hoffman, Close and Caler each knocked base hits, with Caler’s hit scoring Hoffman to tie the game. With two outs, Sharp added another hit, scoring Close to put Pagosa in the lead 11-10.
Ty Lovato then came in to pitch for Pagosa, relieving Hoffman.
In the top of the fourth, Lovato walked and a sacrifice bunt by Blanchard moved Lovato further around the bases. Following a strikeout and an error, Lovato scored on a wild pitch.
Lovato then turned around and shut out the Dolores offense in the bottom of the inning.
“The bottom of the fifth was his only hiccup,” coach Close said.
In the inning, Lovato gave up two walks that came around on a double to tie the score.
With both offenses taking a rest, it took until the top of the seventh inning for the Pirates to again take the lead.
Caler reached base on an error and proceeded to steal second. Laverty then knocked Caler in on a single. Sharp added another walk, then, with two outs, an error on a grounder allowed Laverty and Sharp to score, giving the Pirates their final total of 15 runs.
Lovato followed the Pirate rally with another shut out to give the Pirates the win against Dolores, who they’d previously lost to 11-5.
“It’s pretty cool when you haven’t played in two and a half weeks and it’s freezing and you’re playing a team you’ve lost to before,” coach Close said of the win, adding that “it takes a lot of moxie” to not let yourself quit when starting out down nine runs.
At the plate
• The Pirates recorded 12 hits in the game, with Close, Hoffman, Caler and Laverty each tallying two.
• According to coach Close, the team is running the bases much better, running when a ball hits the dirt.
The team ran on pitches in the dirt between 12 and 15 times, the vast majority of the attempts successful.
“That’s how we have to create runs,” coach Close said of pushing the hit-and-run scenarios, bunts and stealing. “We’ll get thrown out, but at least we’re making them (the other team) do something.”
• DeVooght’s homer was also the team’s first on the season.
• In the game, Pagosa walked seven times and struck out 12 times.
In the field
• In his relief appearance, Lovato pitched five innings, giving up two hits and two runs while striking out eight.
• Overall, Hoffman and Lovato gave up eight walks to Dolores while recording 11 strikeouts.
• The Pirates committed only two errors in the game, a sign that games on fields and practice on the grass of the football field is paying off.
Next, the Pirates will take on Ignacio for a doubleheader Saturday on the Bobcats’ home turf.
Monday, the Pirates will play a makeup game in Alamosa (the game was postponed on March 27 due to snow on the field).
The Pirate junior varsity will see action on the home field first, with a double header Thursday, April 15, with games at 3 and 5 p.m.
The varsity will then play at home Saturday, April 17, in a doubleheader with Bayfield.