Lizzie Likes’ deep save in center field wasn’t enough to deter Durango from swinging for the fence against Montezuma-Cortez late Monday, Sept. 21, at Durango.
And powered by long balls courtesy first baseman Sydney Flores and pitcher Teagan Kehm, the Lady Demons logged a fifth consecutive victory — and avenged last month’s 8-5 loss at the Cortez Softball Complex — by a stout 12-5.
Flores’ first-inning shot off Taiah Wilson capped a four-run outburst countering Likes’ icebreaker — resulting from a walk to Likes and two-out Wilson double — in the visitors’ half, and Durango’s advantage quickly grew to 6-1 in the second via an RBI-single by Kehm and a Flores RBI ground-out.
Wilson doubled again leading off the fourth inning and runner Nizhoni Sam scored on a Koral Jackson chopper that Durango shortstop Lily Longan couldn’t cleanly collect. But Kehm, who’d no-hit 4A/5A Southwestern League rival Montrose on the road three days before, then got Bri Comisky to ground to third and struck out Erin Brown to snuff out the spark.
The 4A Lady Demons (8-6, 3-5 SWL) struck again, as catcher Alaysia Kremer (2-4, 3 R) cracked a one-out single and Kehm knocked in two runs.
Besides booking eight strikeouts, Kehm would go 4-for-4 at the plate, including a single in the fifth inning, which saw Durango pile on four runs on its Senior Day.
Montezuma-Cortez (8-4, 5-3 3A Western Slope) managed to recoup two tallies in the top of the seventh, as catcher Allie Kibel got on base with another Longan error and later scored with Likes (0-2, 2 BB). Kehm polished off a complete-game effort by fanning Hailey Veach (1-4).
About the most consistent stick in the guests’ order, Wilson (L, CG; 17 H, 2 BB, 4 K) went 3-for-3 and drew a walk in defeat while Kibel went 1-4 and stole three bases. Emily Davidovich went 1-2 with a double and a run after replacing senior right fielder Arianna Muniz in the fourth.
Having reportedly fired a complete-game four-hitter in Durango’s aggregate 26-0 double-drub of Montrose, Flores finished 1-4 batting versus the Lady Panthers. Third baseman Meah Mordecai went 3-3 with a walk, double and run.
Up next, Montezuma-Cortez will travel Friday, Sept. 25, for a WSL doubleheader at Delta at 2 p.m. And though the Lady Panthers felled the Delta Lady Panthers 18-3 and 7-3 last fall, victory won’t come easy: Delta improved to 7-3 overall and 7-1 in league by taking a 9/22 twofer at Basalt by scores of 17-9 and 9-8.
Both contests went the distance, and the outsiders prevailed with some seventh-inning magic in each. Delta, which went just 8-15 overall (6-6 WSL) in 2019 — registered seven insurance runs in the first final frame to sprint away with the opener, then manufactured three go-ahead/winning runs to swipe Game 2 from the stunned Lady Longhorns (7-7, 7-4).