Playing under sunny skies at last weekend’s Cortez Tournament, the Montezuma-Cortez High School baseball team produced plenty of offensive highlights. Woes on the mound undid the Panthers however, as the team lost three straight games to fall to 1-3.
Opening the four-team tournament against Cedaredge on March 17, M-CHS fell behind early after starting pitcher Caleb Compton surrendered five runs in the first inning. The hole then grew deeper as Compton surrendered two runs in the third inning and two runs in the fourth inning, which put M-CHS behind 9-0.
Although a five-run inning by M-CHS in the bottom of the fourth narrowed the gap to 9-5, the Panthers never fully recovered as relief pitcher Payton Langston surrendered four runs in the final three innings.
Compton and Brandon McMillian highlighted the Panthers’ day at the plate as both juniors drove in two runs apiece. Cordell Baer, Cutter Mathews and Jasen Engel also enjoyed nice days at the plate as each had a double.
Playing its second game of the tournament against Glenwood Springs on March 18, the Panthers again fell behind early as starter Coby Baer was tagged for eight runs in the first inning.
Although the Panthers eventually narrowed the gap to 9-5 after scoring four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, they were unable to draw closer after sophomore Ryan Medina took Baer’s place on the mound and surrendered six earned runs in two innings.
Andrew Medina led the Panthers at the plate as the junior registered two hits, including a triple, and three RBIs. Engel also enjoyed a nice day, which included three hits and two RBIs.
Closing out the tournament with a matchup against Montrose on March 18, the Panthers kept things close early before falling 13-3 in five innings.
Engel started on the mound for the Panthers and surrendered 13 runs and 19 hits. The lone bright spot for the Panthers ace was the fact that he walked only one batter while striking out seven.
Cutter Matthews and Langston led the Panthers with two hits each. Coby Baer, Cordell Baer and Langston each drove in a run.
The Panthers will return to the practice field this week before traveling to New Mexico for a doubleheader against Kirtland Central on March 30.