While the Montezuma-Cortez High School baseball team has suffered its share of losses in recent seasons, few have been as one sided as the Panthers’ most recent debacle.
Hosting Bayfield High School on April 15, the Panthers were annihilated, losing 16-2 to a school sightly more than half the size of M-CHS.
Setting the tone for the Panthers was a horrific top of the first inning that saw the M-CHS defense commit several errors.
By the time the Panthers recorded three outs, starting pitcher Ian Roberson appeared rattled, and Bayfield led 6-0.
“When one error happens, we need to pick our teammates up,” said Panthers second baseman Kevin Morales. “When a ground ball comes, we need to get it, and we were not doing that.”
After going 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first inning against Bayfield starting pitcher Matthew Knickerbocker, the Panthers returned to the field and again yielded runs, falling behind 8-0 after two innings.
The worst was yet to come for M-CHS however, as Bayfield scored three runs off Roberson and five more off relief pitcher Andrew Laymon in the top of the third inning.
Among the key hits for Bayfield was a blistering triple by Knickerbocker that touched down in the left-field gap and plated two Bayfield runs.
Discussing Bayfield’s offensive onslaught, Panthers’ catcher Eddie Martinez was frank.
“We need to hit our spots a little bit more,” said Martinez. “Part of that is getting a little bit more practice.”
Trailing 16-0 entering the fourth inning, the Panthers got on the board, scoring two runs on Konnar McGee’s two run double to center field.
Panthers relief pitcher Bridger Brenner then gave the Panthers momentum however, tossing two scoreless innings.
The Panthers failed to score in the final inning, and the game was called after the bottom of the fifth.
Expressing disappointment after the team’s loss, Martinez discussed the lessons that his team can take from the tough game.
“We’re not making the simple plays that make the biggest difference in the game,” Martinez said. “We need to start doing that.”
With their record now at 5-9-1, the Panthers will next play a home matchup against Durango on April 19.