The season is getting off to a rough start for the Pirate baseball team.
With two tough losses to Aztec and Center last week, the Pirates look forward to hosting three games this week, including a rematch against the Aztec Tigers and a conference doubleheader against the Monte Vista Pirates.
Friday, the team headed to Aztec to take on the Tigers (now 5-4 on the season), returning home with a 14-4 loss.
Despite the game’s final score, the game was not a runaway victory for the Tigers for much of the game.
“It was four to four in the fifth,” coach Jim Fait pointed out.
Aztec jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, and held that lead until the top of the fifth, when the Pirates churned out four runs of their own.
Those four runs came through a series of plays, beginning with a single by Kennan Goebel, who advanced to second on an error. Goebel was followed by a walk to Tyler Manzanarez and a single by Marcos Quezada that loaded the bases for Keith Archuleta.
Archuleta walked, scoring Goebel, and Luke DeVooght singled to left field to score Manzanarez and advance Quezada and Archuleta on the bases.
Keeping the offense going, Caden Henderson singled, scoring Quezada, and a ground out to first by Joey Campbell scored Archuleta.
Unfortunate for the Pirates, Aztec answered with eight runs in the bottom of the fifth and two additional runs in the sixth to outpace the Pirates.
The Pirates’ six hits were evenly spread among the team, with one hit each by Quezada, Austin Harker, Goebel, Campbell, Henderson and DeVooght.
The Pirates struck out 14 times in the game and erred defensively four times.
Campbell pitched 4.1 innings for the Pirates, allowing eight hits, nine runs (six earned), walking four and striking out three.
Despite the 14-4 loss, Fait expects a competitive match when the Pirates and Tigers face off in Pagosa today, stating that he believe the team improved in all aspects of play last weekend.
Saturday, the team headed to Center for a non-league match against the 3-2 Vikings (despite the teams being in the same conference), but again returned home with a loss.
Center took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, adding another run in the bottom of the third before the Pirates countered with a run of their own in the top of the fourth.
That run came around when DeVooght singled, moved to second on a walk to Henderson, advanced to third on a passed ball, and scored on a single to left by Campbell.
Center, though, scored two additional runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, increasing their lead to 4-1.
The Pirates, however, sought a comeback in the top of the sixth, but fell short, scoring only two runs.
That Pirate offense began with a walk to Archuleta, which was followed by a single to left from Henderson, and a double by Dean Scott that scored Henderson. Campbell followed with a single to score Scott.
Despite the 4-3 loss, the Pirates outhit the Vikings 7-6.
Campbell led Pagosa’s hitting, going 3-for-3 on the day, followed by one hit each from Archuleta, Scott, Henderson and DeVooght.
The Pirate squad collectively struck out 11 times and committed two errors in the game.
Henderson pitched a complete game for Pagosa, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits (including one homerun) while walking three and striking out 11.
“Caden had a great game,” Fait said, but noted, “A couple errors cost us that game.”
Now, after today’s rematch with the Tigers, the Pirates move into the conference-heavy portion of their schedule, beginning with Monte Vista, whom Pagosa fell to by a score of 16-6 in the La Junta tournament on March 16.
Though his team still struggles with errors, Fait said he has seen improvement elsewhere, saying, “We’re seeing the ball a lot better right now.”
And the coach believes this weekend will be a different story against Monte Vista — as well as having more meaning.
“I feel pretty good,” Fait said. “We’re a different team now.”
Fait added, “We need to win both games just to get the season going in the right direction.”
Thursday’s action against Aztec begins at 3 p.m.
Saturday’s conference games against Monte Vista are scheduled for 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
All the games are free and open to the public.