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Pirates play final, and only, home games of year

Home wasn’t so sweet for the Pagosa Springs High School baseball team Saturday when the Pirates met the Pirates at the field adjacent to Golden Peaks Stadium.

In the team’s only two varsity home games played at home this season (two other “home” games were postponed and made up in Bayfield), Pagosa fell to their Monte Vista counterparts by scores of 4-1 and 17-6.

In the day’s first game, Monte Vista took an early lead and never surrendered it.

The Pagosa defense handed Monte Vista their first base runner on the first pitch of the game following an error on a throw to first. Pagosa, however, was able to erase the base runner on the subsequent single. Monte Vista followed with two more singles, scoring their first run.

The Pagosa pitcher, senior Paul Hoffman, was then able to quiet the Monte Vista offense until the top of the fifth inning, when an unearned run crossed the plate on a passed ball.

Monte Vista followed with another run in each of the next two innings, giving them their total of four.

Monte Vista pitcher Max Whitmet, whom Pirate coach Dave Close considers to be one of the best in the league, kept the Pagosa offense fairly quiet by recording 14 strikeouts in his complete-game performance.

Pagosa was able to break up Whitmet’s bid for a shutout in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Tyler Sharp was hit by a pitch, Koby Close singled up the middle. Sharp then crossed the plate on an out by Jared Caler.

“I thought the first game was the best game we’ve played this year,” said head coach Close, taking into account the quality of competition faced. Close also noted the positive work by Pagosa defensively against tough competition.

In the second half of the doubleheader, Monte Vista took advantage of Pagosa’s lack of depth in pitching, tallying 18 hits, 17 runs and scoring in five of the game’s seven innings.

Monte Vista scored four runs in the first inning, which Pagosa attempted to answer in the bottom of the inning.

Hoffman and Shawn Blanchard walked to start the bottom of the inning, advanced on a passed ball, and Hoffman was able to score on a dropped third strike to Koby Close. Pagosa was able to push another run across the plate on a ground out by Caler before the inning ended.

The Monte Vista offense then continued their roll, scoring two more in the second and five more in the third, including a three-run home run by Ryan Milne.

Down 11-2, Pagosa again struck back in the bottom of the third and scored two runs with Hoffman reaching on an error, a Blanchard single up the middle, a passed ball that advanced the runners. A hit by Close scored Hoffman, followed by an error on a ball hit by Caler, which scored Blanchard.

Jared Burch, pitching in relief for Pagosa, then faced three batters in the top of the fourth, recording three quick outs. The Monte Vista pitcher did the same in the bottom of the inning.

Monte Vista tallied two more runs in the top of the fifth, while Pagosa scored one more in the bottom of the inning, with Hoffman scoring on a hit by Sharp.

Monte Vista added four more runs in the top of the seventh, leaving Pagosa with a 17-6 deficit they were unable to overcome, though not for lack of trying. With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Pagosa was able to tally one more run before running out of available outs.

On the day, Pagosa fell to 0-4 in conference play, while Monte Vista improved their IML record to 4-0.

Despite the losses, coach Close said the team is quickly improving and becoming a more formidable opponent, just in time for a rematch against either Bayfield or Monte Vista in the IML tournament on May 8.

At the plate

•Close reached base five times Saturday on a combination of three hits, a dropped third strike and being hit by a pitch. Hoffman reached four times on two hits, a walk and an error.

In the field

• Hoffman pitched 6.1 innings in game one, allowing five hits, four runs and one walk — the best pitching performance of the year, according to coach Close.

Up next

The Pirates travel to La Jara to take on the Centauri High School Falcons Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Both teams are 0-4 in IML play.