The Pagosa Springs Pirate baseball team’s postseason hopes were shot down by the Monte Vista Pirates on Saturday.
With playoff contention on the line, the Pagosa team headed to Monte Vista Saturday to take on the Monte Pirates in a doubleheader, coming home with a 1-1 split on the day.
“I guess more than anything else, it’s just frustrating,” Coach Jim Fait said.
As the first game of the day progressed, things looked evenly matched, with no one scoring in the first four frames.
It wasn’t until the fifth inning that Pagosa was able to score, with four coming around in the inning.
Tyson Ross singled to start the inning before moving to third on two consecutive balks.
Dalton Madden singled to put runners at first and third, with Sean Blanchard bringing home Ross on a single.
Caden Henderson then threw a single in the mix to score Madden and Blanchard.
Marcos Quezada rounded out the inning’s scoring with a base hit to score Henderson.
Monte Vista, however, countered with eight in the inning and a ninth run in sixth inning to defeat Pagosa 9-4.
Despite scoring only four runs in the game, Pagosa players notched 11 hits on the game, but left 12 runners on base.
In the game, Ross (with two RBIs) and Madden (with one RBI) led the team with three hits each, with Henderson (1 RBI) and Marcos Quezada following suit with two hits each. Blanchard contributed one knock and one RBI.
Blanchard and Ross pitched the game for the Pirates, each allowing five hits, walking two and striking out three.
But it was a combination of wild pitches and passed balls, Fait said, that led to Monte Vista’s eight-run tear.
“It didn’t help that we didn’t put them away when we could have put them away, so that hurt us,” Fait said. “But I was glad to see that we came back and played a good second game.
In the second half of the doubleheader, Pagosa took an early, one-run lead, but was close to making that lead larger. Ross walked, stole second and was caught stealing at third before Madden singled and stole second.
Blanchard followed with a single to move Madden to third, moving to second himself on a throw to third.
From there, Henderson singled to score Dalton.
The squad scored two more in the second inning.
Austin Harker doubled to start the action and was followed by a Quezada single and a Ross single that scored Harker.
Madden then singled to score Quezada.
Monte Vista, however, would go on to tie the game in the bottom of the second inning.
Intent to end their season on a high note, Pagosa added a run in the third when Tyler Manzanares walked and scored on a series of singles by Keith Archuleta, Harker and Quezada.
Another run came in the fourth after Madden singled and stole second, Austin DeVooght singled and was caught stealing at second, and a sacrifice fly by Blanchard scored Madden.
After a scoreless fifth inning, Pagosa added a six-spot to the board in the sixth inning to solidify the lead.
Ross singled to start the inning, but was caught stealing second. Madden then singled and DeVooght doubled, putting runners at second and third.
Blanchard singled to bring Madden around and Henderson singled to bring DeVooght and Blanchard around.
Chris Mannara added a single and a stolen base before Archuleta singled to score Henderson.
A single from Harker scored Mannara and DeVooght.
The team added another insurance run in the seventh inning, when Madden walked, stole second and advanced to third on an error, crossing the plate on a sacrifice fly by DeVooght.
The team walked away with a 12-4 victory and a 1-1 split on the day.
Harker and Madden, both freshmen, led the team with four hits each, with Madden also tallying four RBIs.
Six Pirates contributed two hits each — DeVooght (two RBIs), Archuleta (two RBIs), Henderson (one RBI), Quezada (one RBI), Blanchard (one RBI) and Ross (one RBI). Mannara added one hit and one RBI.
Fait highlighted freshman Madden’s pitching and batting on the day, citing his first complete game pitching and his going 7-for-8 on the day to lift his season average to .472.
“He hit the ball real well in both games,” Fait said.
Now, the Pirates are left to watch Bayfield, Alamosa and Centauri in the postseason, reflect on their year and prepare for next season.
“We learned fundamentals, which is a good thing,” Fait said, adding that the team won one more league game than they had in the last three years — combined. “We’re not going to turn it around in one year.”
Fait said the team averaged four or five freshmen starters each game, which bodes well for the future.
Additionally, many of the players will take part in a 16-and-under league in Durango this summer, Fait said.
And, in hindsight, Fait knows his team was close to the playoffs, citing a potential one-pitch difference that would have let the Pirates beat Centauri earlier in the season, when they, instead, lost a 6-5 lead in the seventh inning.
“You’ve got to take advantage when you can take advantage,” Fait said.