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Pirates split doubleheader with Centauri

When the Pagosa Springs High School baseball team returned home from La Jara Saturday evening, they’d added 31 runs, a conference win and a loss to the books.

Despite scoring 31 runs, the Pirates split the day’s doubleheader at La Jara against the Centauri High School Falcons. In total, 59 runs were scored on the day between the teams.

The day’s first game started with a bang for the Pirates — a home run by senior Paul Hoffman on the first pitch. From there, the Pirates gave up three runs to the Falcons in the bottom of the inning before striking back offensively in the second.

Pagosa scored five runs in the second inning courtesy of singles by Tyson Ross, Mason Laverty and Hoffman that were followed by a walk to Shawn Blanchard. Koby Close added another single to the inning before Austin DeVooght capped off the action with his second home run on the season.

Centauri scored two in the bottom of the inning.

Another five runs crossed the plate for the Pirates in the third inning, highlighted by a double by Close and singles by Jared Caler and DeVooght.

Neither team was done. Centauri struck back with two runs in the fifth. The Pirates then added two runs in the sixth, while the Falcons added one to the board. Pagosa added an additional pair in the seventh; Centauri scored three in the bottom of the seventh, but fell short in the 18-11 win by the Pirates.

“I actually don’t think we played that well,” said head coach Dave Close, citing the nine errors committed by the Pirate defense.

Game two on the day proved to be another hit-fest for both teams. Early in the game, it looked as though Pagosa would walk away with another win.

In the first inning, the Pirates scored two, highlighted by a Caler double. Three more runs came across in the second, with a home run by Ross as the inning’s biggest hit.

Leading 5-0, the Pirates allowed Centauri to score four in the bottom of the third. Again padding their lead, a double by Jared Burch was followed by singles by Preston Dale and Hoffman and a two-run single by Close, ending the inning with a score of 8-4 in favor of Pagosa.

That was the end of the Pirates’ lead.

The Falcons scored 12 in the bottom of the fifth inning on nine hits, two walks and three errors.

“The ironic thing about it is, the inning ended on a spectacular double play,” coach Close said. “We joke that, otherwise, we might still be out there trying to get them out.”

The double play was the first turned by Pagosa this season.

The Pirates were able to bring two runs around in the sixth inning, in which Blanchard doubled.

Centauri again scored in the bottom of the sixth, making the score 17-10 Falcons.

A Pagosa rally in the top of the seventh began and ended with Hoffman’s second homer of the day, this time a three-run jack, leaving the Pirates on the wrong end of the 17-13 final score.

“We just have such a tough time with pitching,” coach Close said of the young team. Close also noted that the team played much better defensively in the second game.

Overall, Close likened Centauri to Pagosa, with each team having some strong hitters, but lacking depth in pitching.

At the plate

•Hoffman and DeVooght walked away from the day with five hits each, while Blanchard, Close, Caler and Dale each had three on the day.

• Going into the series with one home run on the season, the Pirates returned home with four.

In the field

• The Pirates followed their first defensive double play of the season with another the following inning.

• Coach Close said the key to the Pirates advancing in the Intermountain League tournament next weekend is making plays on routine groundballs, in addition to the spectacular plays seen throughout the season.

Up next

Next, Pagosa (1-5 conference 5-12 overall) will again face No. 2-seeded Monte Vista in the IML tournament in Alamosa Saturday at 11 a.m. in what coach Close believes will be a positive rematch. Close believe Pagosa played their best baseball of the season against Monte Vista April 24.

Pagosa will enter the tournament as the No. 3 seed due to the number of runs scored on Saturday.

First-seeded Bayfield, the league champion, will face Centauri on a neighboring field at 11 a.m. The winner of the two games will play immediately following.

randi@pagosasun.com