Heading to Parker, Colo. for the Class 3A Region 5 Tournament, the Montezuma-Cortez High School baseball team knew that it was in for a tough task.
Opening the tournament against the state’s second-ranked Class 3A team, Lutheran High School, on May 13, the Panthers lost 11-1 in five innings.
“I felt like our team was ready, but the nerves of playing in a playoff game were an issue,” said M-CHS manager Tim Passell. “Our nerves stopped us from getting our game rolling.”
Starting the game on the mound for the Panthers was junior ace Jasen Engel, who entered the contest with a 5-2 record on the season.
Although Engel managed yielded just one run during a solid first inning, Lutheran’s offense eventually tagged the Panthers’ starter for six runs over four innings of work. Caleb Compton relieved Engel on the mound and gave up four runs over one inning of work.
At the plate, the Panthers were led by Isiah Pena, who went 1-2 with one RBI. Engel also had a hit for the Panthers, whose 10 wins represented the most that an M-CHS team has had in more than a decade.
“I’ll always remember how we came together as a team over the course of the year,” Passell said. “It wasn’t just one individual. t was somebody different that came through for us each outing. Making the playoffs and getting the experience will help us next year. I’m excited about our future.”