The Montezuma-Cortez High School baseball team snapped its five-game losing streak Friday with a 2-1 home win over Montrose.
On Saturday, the Panthers rallied to tie the game at 3 against Fruita Monument, but a seven-run sixth-inning propelled the Wildcats to a 10-3 win at McAndrew Field.
M-CHS (5-10, 1-6 4A Southwestern League) got a complete game on the mound from pitcher Chris Black against Montrose. Black did not give up any earned runs and hit an RBI-triple to tie the game 1-1 in the first-inning. The Panthers took the lead for good in the second-inning when first baseman Gerardo Martinez scored from third base after an errant throw got by the Indians third baseman. Black struck out three and gave up just four hits.
All I can tell you right now is Chris Black, Panthers coach Sam Perry said. The way he came in and pitched, to show how tough he was as an athlete, he went seven innings of unearned run baseball. Im so proud of the way he pitched, battled and competed.
Montrose threatened in the fifth to tie the game with a runner on third, but senior center fielder Brandon Brady caught the pop-fly for the third out to get out of the inning unscathed. The Indians never challenged again as the Panthers held on for a much-needed victory.
We had chances to bust it open and never got the big hit, but our guys never let down mentally, which allowed us to play defense, Perry said. Its a very good Montrose team, very well coached. They got tremendous athletes.
The Indians defeated the Panthers 20-1 in Montrose on April 2, and won 11-6 on March 12 in Bloomfield, N.M.
It was definitely a much-needed win, Black said. It was a hard, grind-it-out game. We just kept battling, battling, battling. Our defense was kicking butt all the way through. I think we had one error; that helped out a lot. We couldnt really pull through at the key times, but luckily we still kind of stuck around and pulled out the win.
Black was 1-for-2 at the plate, and Brady went 2-for-3.
On Saturday, Fruita jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but back came the Panthers in the bottom of the fifth with three runs to tie the game.
In the top of the sixth, the Wildcats wore down starting pitcher Ryan Haley. Perry pulled Haley and put in Josh Whyte, but the bats were in full force for the visitors, as they erupted for seven runs resulting in the final margin.
The Panthers were dealt a significant blow in the inning when Brady and right fielder Tam Phan collided, while attempting to catch a fly ball. Brady broke his right leg in the collision and did not return. He will miss the remainder of the season.
It hurts, Perry said about losing Brady to injury. Its just bad luck.
Although Fruita won, the Panthers left this weekend feeling more confident that they can compete with the bigger schools in the Southwestern League, and are looking to finish the season strong.
We can beat anybody in this league. It just takes the right day, you know, Black said. Today, one thing went their way, it didnt really go our way. They had their chances, we had our chances, and today they kind of pulled through on their end. We didnt so much on ours. Thats baseball for you.
The Panthers will conclude the regular season on the road beginning with a nonconference game at Bayfield today at 2 p.m.
Reach Bobby Abplanalp at email@example.com.