Thus, it was with energy and excitement that a group of 11-to-12-year-old baseball players took to the Parque de Vida fields on July 7.
Representing the Southwest Colorado All-Stars or the Durango All-Stars, several players performed well during a hard-fought 13-6 Durango victory.
Opening the contest with a bang, Durango scored four runs in the top of the first inning off of Southwest Colorado starting pitcher Teagan Whiteskunk.
Bailing Whiteskunk out however, Southwest Colorado relief pitcher Makayla Long entered the game and struck out two batters to end the inning.
After loading the bases in the bottom of the first inning, Southwest Colorado was unable to score after Neil Farias struck out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
“We need to start off early hitting and being more aggressive,” said Farias after the game.
After Long retired Durango batters in order in the top of the second inning, Southwest Colorado broke through in the bottom of the second, scoring runs on RBI singles by Dylan Barb and Whiteskunk.
Things fell apart for Southwest Colorado in the next inning however, as Durango scored seven runs in the frame to pull ahead 11-2.
Key to Durango’s big inning were several errors by Southwest Colorado fielders, which allowed Durango to extend the inning.
“It could have gone better if we didn’t make as many errors,” said Ryan Medina, who pitched two innings for Cortez.
Looking to battle back in the fourth and fifth innings, Southwest Colorado’s bats remained stagnant, yet the game remained close thanks to an inning double play turned by Long.
With one out in the top of the fifth inning and runners at first and third, Long, who was playing first base at the time, dove to her right to spear a line drive before tagging the runner at first to record the double play.
“(Long’s defense) helps a lot because it takes a lot of pressure off you when you’re pitching,” said Neil Farias, who was pitching for Southwest Colorado at the time.
Although Long’s big play kept the game close, Southwest Colorado was unable to catch Durango despite scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
“(The game) went pretty good except for a couple of innings,” said Farias.
Despite the loss, the Southwest Colorado 11-to-12-year-old All-Stars will play again in Cortez on July 9 at 5:30 p.m..
Updates on the game will be available at www.facebook.com/cortezjournal.