With the exception of one inning, Montezuma-Cortez High School went toe-to-toe with rival Durango.
However, that one bad first inning, resulted in 15 runs for the visiting Demons in softball action at Englehart Field on Thursday.
Durango attacked starting M-CHS pitcher Kaprice Pribble in the top of the first to build its insurmountable lead.
The teams played an even 1-1 three innings from then on. But the Lady Panthers ended their season with a 16-1, four-inning mercy rule loss.
We dug ourself in too far to respond, I think, M-CHS coach Heath Elliott said. Other than that, defensively, they played real well. You take away that first inning, and it was a pretty close game throughout. But it is what it is. We cant take it back.
Second baseman Stevie Brenner hit a single off of Demons pitcher Alexys Vidunas in the top of the fourth. Brenner later scored in the inning to get M-CHS (3-16, 0-11 4A Southwestern League) on the board. But the Lady Panthers couldnt score enough runs against a stingy Durango defense to extend the game.
Theyve been hitting the ball pretty well all year. They hit the ball pretty well tonight. Just their (Durangos) defense was on their game tonight, Elliott said.
Corissa Bosick belted a grand slam in the first inning for the Demons (9-10, 2-8 4A SWL), who swept the season series over the Lady Panthers.
M-CHS freshman pitcher Tayla Topaha pitched the remaining three innings and the Lady Panthers matched Durangos defensive intensity. Unfortunately, it wasnt nearly enough to overcome for a young M-CHS squad.
Weve been starting five freshmen all year, Elliott said. Theres a lot of talent there. But I dont think they realize what theyre in for, until they meet up with 5A schools like Fruita (Monument) or (Grand Junction) Central. But itll come around.
Senior lettermen Randy Elliott (catcher) and Tori Laymon (shortstop) will graduate, as well as seniors Kira Smouse, Amanda Gallegos, Pribble and Arillia Jorgenson.
I want to say Thank you to my dad for all the years hes coached me, said coach Elliots daughter Randy, who was named All-Conference as a junior. Hes made into the player that Ive been.
The majority of the varsity starting lineup will return next season.
I think we got the potential to be a dang tough, competitive, possibly state qualifying team within the next two or three years, Heath Elliott said. The talents there. Its just the lack of experience right now. Weve led many games this year and lost them defensively at the end.
The Lady Panthers played their second week on their new softball field. Funding for a new and improved Englehart Field has came from private donations and people are welcome to contribute.
For more information about donating, please call Heath Elliott at 799-2833.