Eight games into the season, the Montezuma-Cortez High School baseball team has notched six wins and one tight loss.
Not a bad start for a Panthers team that has struggled to win games in recent seasons.
Continuing to build on strong early season performances, the Panthers competed in the Aztec Tournament March 20-22, finishing second overall.
Starting off against Moriarty High School on March 20, the Panthers beat their overmatched opponents 15-8.
Konnar McGee and Ian Roberson pitched well for the Panthers as the M-CHS bats came alive.
“It was just us knowing how to capitalize on mistakes,” said Panthers’ manager Mathew Betts.
Returning to action on March 21 against Aztec, the Panthers again performed admirably, scratching their way to an 8-7 win.
After building a big lead early courtesy of solid pitching from Andrew Laymon, the Panthers allowed Aztec to score six runs in the final two innings.
Pitcher Dayne Black saved the day for M-CHS however, recording the final two outs of the game.
“We relaxed in the fifth and the sixth and we let things get away from us a little bit,” said Betts. “They made a run, but we were able to shut them down.”
In the championship on March 22, the Panthers battled hard before losing to Taos 5-4.
Leading 4-1 entering the seventh inning, Panthers’ starting pitcher, Dayne Black, began showing fatigue. Although McGee took the mound, the Panthers were unable to hold their lead.
“It gave us a lot of learning opportunities as far as making sure we stay on top of these teams until the end,” said Betts.
With their record now 7-1-1 on the year, the Panthers will take a brief break before returning to action in Montrose on March 28.