The Pagosa Springs High School Pirate baseball team may have lost two games in Bayfield Saturday, but Coach Dave Close feels the squad showed a lot of moxie.
After a lopsided loss in the earlier game on the day, the Buccaneers battled, taking game two into extra innings.
Game one pitted the Pirates against a sophomore Bayfield left-hander who, according to Close, was clocked throwing 85 mph pitches last week.
The pitcher seemingly lived up to the hype, allowing no runs and only four hits against him in five innings while striking out 11 Pirates.
Those four hits consisted of two hits from Koby Close, one of which was a double off the center field fence, and hits by Lee Clark and Clay Ross.
While being shut out offensively for the first five innings, things did not run as smoothly for the Pirates defensively as it did for their counterparts, and the scoreboard showed an eight-run deficit by the end of the fifth inning.
Facing a new pitcher, the Pirates showed signs of life in the top of the sixth inning, scoring four runs in the inning on a series of walks, hits and errors.
In the inning, Clay Ross walked, Clark reached on an error, Ty Vaivota walked to load the bases, then Keith Archuleta fired off a two-run double to bring Ross and Clark home.
Not done yet, Austin DeVooght earned a walk, Close was hit by a pitch and Mason Laverty walked, forcing in two more runs in the process.
Unfortunately, the Wolverines bested Pagosa’s offensive efforts, winning the game by a final score of 13-4.
“They hit the heck out of the ball,” Close said of the Bayfield squad, which tallied 15 hits in the game.
Pitching the game for the Pirates were Tyson Ross and Mason Laverty, who only walked three between them in the contest. The Pirates erred four times in the game.
Game two began the way game one ended — the Wolverines scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning on one hit and two errors — but the Pirates quickly quelled Bayfield, quieting their bats for much of the game.
Pagosa’s squad scored the next eight runs.
The Pirates scored one in the top of the second inning when Clay Ross knocked a base hit, advanced on a ground out by Clark and scored on a ball by Archuleta that was deemed an error.
The next inning, Clay Ross tallied another hit, Vaivota followed suit, with the pair scoring on a passed ball and error, bringing the score to 4-3 in favor of the Wolverines.
Pagosa tallied two more runs in the fifth to take the lead for the first time on the day with a walk by DeVooght, a single by Close and a single by Mason Laverty to load the bases. One run came around to score on a double play, while the second run of the inning scored on a two-out double by Tyson Ross.
Fast forward to the seventh inning, the Pirates padded their lead, scoring three runs with two outs.
In the inning, Vaivota walked, Sean Blanchard walked and DeVooght nailed his third home run of the season.
Taking an 8-4 lead into the bottom of the second, the Pirates seemed poised to put the game in the win column, but the Bayfield squad had other thoughts.
The Wolverines tallied five hits in the inning to score four runs and tie the game, taking it to extra innings.
The Pirates were quiet offensively in the top of the eighth and, in the bottom of the inning, notched two outs in attempts to take the game into a ninth inning.
Unfortunately, with two out, a walk and two singles brought around the winning run for Bayfield in another heartbreaking, one-run loss for the Pirates.
“For the first time this year, they earned it,” Close said of the opposition beating the Pirates late in the game on hits versus errors.
Blanchard pitched a complete game for the Pirates, allowing nine runs while walking only two and striking out six.
The Pirates scored eight runs on 11 hits, garnered eight walks and were struck out eight times.
Close and Tyson Ross led the Pirates offensively with three hits each in the game, while DeVooght and Clay Ross followed with two each.
“I was really, really proud of the kids,” Close said of the team’s fight despite game one’s lopsided loss, adding that they didn’t “fade away.”
“We showed a lot of moxie,” Close said.
On the day, Close led the Pagosa squad with five hits, while cousins Clay and Tyson Ross notched three hits each.
Next, the Pirates welcome Piedra Vista to their home turf and hope to come out of the rematch with a pair of wins against Piedra Vista.
The Buccaneers dropped a game at Piedra Vista in mid April.
“We’ve got to hit the ball more consistently and we need to field it better,” Close said simply. “We need to make some plays in the field; we didn’t do too well down there.”
Action starts at 11 a.m. Saturday at the baseball complex near the high school.