The season may be young for the Pirate baseball team, but one thing is already clear — the team is off to its strongest start in the last several years.
The Pirates are 2-2 so far on the season, with an 8-6 win over Las Animas and a 7-4 win over Dolores, as well as a 5-1 loss to Rocky Ford and a 16-3 loss to La Junta.
“I feel like a pretty good team out there,” coach Jim Fait said, adding, “We’re really still working hard in practice. We’re hitting the ball, we’re working on pitching every day.”
In the young season, the Pirates have six players hitting .300 or above, making for a .366 team average in four games with 37 hits (including seven doubles and one triple), 19 runs scored and 18 RBIs. Additionally, the team has eight stolen bases on the season.
Keenan “Bubba” Earley leads the team with a .600 average in 10 at bats, with two doubles, one run and two RBIs.
Dean Scott follows with a .556 average with five hits in nine at bats, including one triple, and has three runs scored, one stolen base and one RBI to his name.
Marcos Quezada is batting .500 in 12 at bats, including one double. Quezada has tallied three runs scored, three stolen bases and two RBIs on the season thus far.
Caden Henderson is also batting .500 on the year with five hits in 10 at bats, and has one stolen base, three runs scored and four RBIs.
Luke DeVooght holds a .417 average with five hits in 12 at bats, including one double and has three RBIs.
Tyler Manzanares is batting .300 on the season thus far with three hits, including one double, three runs scored and two RBIs.
Joey Campbell and Austin Harker also have one stolen base each.
On the mound, Henderson has a team-high 13 innings pitched with a 2.69 ERA, 18 strikeouts, nine runs (five earned), nine walks and 12 hits.
Campbell has pitched the second most with six innings pitched and an 8.17 ERA. Campbell has allowed 18 runs (seven earned) on 11 hits with six strikeouts and five walks.
Tyler Manzanares has the third most innings pitched with three and holds a 0.00 ERA and two strikeouts.
This weekend, the Pirates will look to continue their strong showing with a matchup against the Center Vikings Saturday and, on Tuesday, the team will head to Cortez to face the Dove Creek Bulldogs.
“We have to continue to be aggressive at the plate and continue to hit the ball,” Fait said of the upcoming games.
The Vikings are 3-3 on the year, with several decisive games under their belts and a two-game win streak going into the weekend.
To begin the season, Center defeated Salida 9-7, then dropped two to Rye in a doubleheader 6-4 and 16-3. Center lost to Centauri 9-6 before defeating Dolores Huerta Prep (from Pueblo) 18-0 and beating John Mall 10-0.
The game is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Saturday in Center, and Henderson is slated to be the starting pitcher.
“I expect a competitive game Saturday,” Fait noted. “Center has some good hitters. It’s going to be a good game, I think.”
Tuesday, the Pirates will take on the Bulldogs, who are 2-4, in a late-addition game.
Dove Creek began the season with four losses — 10-2 to Dolores, 6-5 to Cortez, and 18-4 and 18-2 against unknown, non-varsity opponents. The Bulldogs then defeated Navajo Prep 4-3 and an unknown, non-varsity opponent 9-8.
Fait said Dove Creek is off to a slow start this season, but that the team made the playoffs last year.
“They’re always pretty good, pretty solid,” he said.
Joey Campbell is expected to start the game, which is scheduled for 2 p.m.