Retiring 11 of the last 13 Bears he faced, and inducing six to bounce back to his elevated position, Iaasic Pena certainly made the enemy pay for striking him out.
Dolores' Deano Valdez tapped a roller back to the mound leading off the hosts' half of the windy afternoon's second first inning. And when it appeared Pena would scoop the ball, it abruptly skipped over his mitt and forced him into a hurried retrieval and errant throw to Adison Jones.
A balk to Mikeal Ford then was called, and Ford capitalized by driving home what would be the Bears' lone run in a 6-1 loss to the Bobcats.
The win denied DHS a three-game season sweep after the Bears had held on to take the twinbill's opener 8 to 6.
"In the first game.we kind of fell apart there in the middle. But we brought each other back up and we talked about it-first game we let [it] go, second game.we're going to come back hard and we're going to get the second game," said rightfielder Joe Herrera. "We're walking out with at least one win!"
Herrera's at-bat in the fourth helped permanently sway Game 2. After Bo Ward scored on a wild pitch early, Herrera then knocked a single to left, bringing in Jones from third and boosting IHS to a safe 4-1 lead as Pena (W; CG, BB, HB) was primed to complete his seven-inning, three-hit full pull.
Striking out just three, Pena made relatively sure any ball put into play would be near an Ignacio glove-whether his own, or regularly-active third baseman Bo Ward's, or suddenly-active Herrera's.
"On my part.I haven't had many balls hit to me this year," said the sophomore.
"Our first game, we started off kind of slow; our fielding wasn't pretty good. But after a few innings we came back in it-got all together, got our bats going.but it was a little too late.
"Second game we just went in.playing how we left off the first. Good pitching, good fielding, good hitting, staying positive-that's all we're here to do!"
DHS (6-8, 3-4 2A/1A San Juan Basin League) would answer with four runs-two on a single by catcher Drew Morgan-in the home half of the fifth, but IHS suddenly stormed back with five runs [Pena and Ward each had 2-RBI singles, and Herrera plated Ward with a single] in the sixth.
However, a win wasn't in the cards; after Ward relieved younger brother Tucker (L; 5 IP) and quickly retired Dolores in the bottom of the frame, Gatzke (W, CG) struck out Ignacio leadoff hitter Rain Rosa, got Anthony Manzanares to ground to short, and fanned Pena with a high fastball to end the threat.
But after the Bears did some field maintenance, Pena promptly got Game 2 going with a two-out double to left off Hamilton, and scored on a subsequent single by Tucker Ward (3-4, R, 2 RBI in Game 2).
Ward then later plated Manzanares with a one-out single in the fifth, and scored on a Morgan error when the Bear attempted to gun him at third after a wild pitch to Bo Ward allowed him to go for that bag.
Rosa, Manzanares and Pena each went 1-4 in the victory, upping the Bobcats to 8-6 overall, 3-4 SJBL [IHS came in off last Saturday's 14-8, 5-12 win/loss split at Dove Creek] going into today's 1 p.m. pair at SunUte Field versus Nucla (11-4, 7-0 SJBL).
"It's going to be tough; just got to keep our pitching," said Pena. "Nucla barely beat us by a point [eight innings, 4/15 at NHS]-we should have won, but as long as we keep playing like we've been.."
"We're ready for it," finished Herrera. "Last time we played 'em it was a rough loss for us, but we've been working hard and we're going to get 'em this time."