With a three-game win streak, the Pagosa Springs High School baseball team is set to delve into league play for the first time this weekend, in the form of a doubleheader against the Monte Vista Pirates.
The hometown Pirate team extended its win streak to three in the last week, with a Saturday matchup in Center and a Tuesday game against Dove Creek in Cortez.
“It’s great that we have a three-game win streak heading into league play with Monte Vista this week, so that’s a good thing,” coach Jim Fait said.
Saturday’s matchup with the Center Vikings in Center was a pitching duel between the teams, with the Pirates totaling five hits in the game, compared to the Vikings’ six.
Runs, too, were more rare in the game for the Pirates than in other games in the season, with Pagosa outscoring Center 3-2 in the end.
Center, however, led for much of the game, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning — a lead they held until the top of the fifth, when Pagosa scored two.
Pagosa added another run in the sixth, which was enough for the victory, though Center added another run to their tally in the bottom of the seventh.
Caden Henderson pitched much of the game for the Pirates, with eight strikeouts, four walks, five hits and two runs in 6.2 innings, giving him the win.
“He really held us in the game,” Fait said.
The performance gives Henderson a 1.78 ERA in 19.2 innings pitched on the season.
Joey Campbell garnered a save in the game.
From the plate, the Pirates’ five hits came from five different Pirates — Austin Harker (who also scored a run), Henderson (who also scored a run), Luke DeVooght, Keenan “Bubba” Earley (who also scored a run), and Marcos Quezada (who garnered an RBI).
Joey Campbell notched the team’s other two RBIs in the game.
In the field, three Pirates erred, matching Center’s error tally.
Tuesday, the team headed to Cortez for a neutral-field matchup against the Dove Creek Bulldogs, returning home with a 9-4 win.
Despite walking away with a win, the Pirates’ opponent again took the early lead, with Dove Creek holding that lead until the bottom of the fourth inning, when Pagosa broke out for four runs.
The Pirates added another two in the fourth and on in the sixth before the Bulldogs scored three in the seventh.
In return, the Pirates scored two in the bottom of the seventh for the 9-4 final score in favor of Pagosa.
Dean Scott pitched six innings for the Pirates in the game, giving up four runs (three earned) and five walks while striking out six — with Fait calling Scott one of the highlights of the game.
Tyler Manzanares struck out the side in the seventh to gain the save.
At the plate, the Pirates notched 10 hits versus the Bulldogs’ four.
Manzanares and Martin Rodriquez (in his first start of the season) led the team from the plate, with each going two for three, with Rodriquez knocking in two and Manzanares knocking in one.
Harker, Goebel, Henderson, DeVooght and Scott each added one hit to the team’s total, with additional RBIs from Goebel, DeVooght and Quezada.
The team’s nine runs were scored by Harker (two), Manzanares (two), Goebel, DeVooght, Scott, Rodriquez and Kate Deluche.
Both teams had two errors in the game.
Heading into league play this weekend against Monte Vista, Fait said the keys for the team are to hit early in the game and avoiding making errors.
“I feel good about everything else,” he noted.
Expounding on the keys for the team, Fait said the team has not been hitting well early in games this season, generally in the first time through the lineup, before the batters can adjust to the opposing pitcher.
Fait said the pitching the Pirates have faced in the games so far this season has been slower than what they are used to in practice, but that he has been stressing at practices to swing early in the count and move forward on the plate.
Too, he noted, as the team’s confidence at the plate builds, the hits will come as the hitters find holes between fielders.
“We have to get our sticks going quick,” Fait said.
In the field, Fait said many of the team’s errors are throwing errors rather than fielding errors.
“It shouldn’t be happening, but it is,” Fait said, adding that nerves may be an issue since the errors aren’t happening in practice.
The Pirates face the Monte Vista Pirates Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., with Henderson and Campbell slated to start the games.