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Three Pirates receive post season baseball honors

Three Pagosa Springs High School baseball players garnered Intermountain League all-conference honors, signaling the end of high school baseball activity for the year.

Sophomore Koby Close earned a first-team nod, also coming in as runnerup in the Player of the Year voting (a Bayfield pitcher took top honors).

Junior Austin DeVooght and sophomore Sean Blanchard received second-team honors.

“I think they were three really good players for us,” Coach Dave Close said.

Close led the Pirates with a .491 batting average on the season, recording 10 extra-base hits, nine of which were doubles.

DeVooght led the team with four home runs, batting .440 on the season.

Following closely behind Close, DeVooght tallied nine extra-base hits.

Of the 136 hits the Pirates notched during the season, Close and DeVooght accounted for 50 of them, also accounting for 19 of the team’s 34 extra base hits.

Blanchard hit .276 on the year while taking turns in the field at short stop, second base and pitching, with Coach Close praising his defensive abilities.

“He would be a fabulous center fielder,” Close said.

Blanchard was one of a few players on the team forced to play positions other than their favorite for the good of the team, which fielded only nine varsity players by the end of the 4-15 season.

But, Close said the team members played new positions willingly and without giving up throughout the season, calling the last week of practice “sensational.”

“It’s just a shame there’s only nine of them,” Close said.

Three of those nine, however, have played their last games in a Pirate jersey and will graduate on May 28 — Mason Laverty, Lee Clark and Ty Vaivoda.

Laverty hit two home runs during the season, while Clark became a defensively sound center fielder — a perfect example of what Close saw amongst all the outfielders over the course of the season.

“I think the outfielders, their defense, improved substantially,” Close said.

While there is nearly a year before they take the field in official fashion again, it is clear that the Pirates will look to improve in a number of categories next season — putting the ball in play more, continuing to improve their fielding abilities and fielding an increased number of varsity players — all in a quest to improve both their overall (4-15) and conference (2-6) records.

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