Spring break did what it could to disrupt Bayfield High School baseball’s development.
Prom then plucked away players right when BHS returned to action, reducing not only skipper Bert Miller’s roster but also its chance for at least one success in three tries last weekend.
One Wolverine, however, seemed relatively immune to the depleting distractions.
“Definitely Ethan,” said BHS assistant coach Clay Miller, referring to junior Ethan Morris. “Actually, at practice before we left, he said he’s a way better hitter after spring break. Then he was 6-for-8 with a grand slam, eight RBIs. He had a pretty good weekend.”
Belting a third-inning, bases-clearing homer last Friday against second-ranked Sterling, Morris not only tightened up a high-scoring showdown on the 2019 Brush Beetdigger Invitational’s opening night, but also set a come-from-behind tone for the entire event. That resiliency pleased the coaching staff, but they hope the team will be more proactive than reactive this Saturday when 3A Intermountain League play begins at home versus Pagosa Springs.
“The guys are excited,” Miller said. “They know what they’ve got to do, and they want to win out league and head into the playoffs with a winning record. And, if they’re together, we’re real, real competitive.”
Able to erase deficits of 7-0 versus Sterling, 5-2 versus Brush and 3-0 versus reigning IML champs Alamosa, but in the end beaten by respective scores of 12-9, 8-7 (in eight innings) and 14-4, Bayfield (4-7) will welcome to town a Pirate crew looking to bounce back from a 1-2 showing at the inaugural, site-shifted Gunnison Cowboy Invite.
After a 10-4 win over perennial 2A force Paonia, Pagosa fell 4-0 to 3A Gunnison and then took a 22-0 shelling from 4A Glenwood Springs, leaving the Pirates 5-5 overall (the win over Paonia had been the Pirates’ fifth consecutive after an 0-3 start) prior to arriving at Wolverine Field.
The doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Saturday.
“I think the (Brush) tournament showed us that if we fix a few little things, we can play with anybody in the state,” Miller said. “Yeah, we got down a lot early, but our guys, they never gave up. They kept swinging and battled to the end, fought all the way through.”
Also in league-opening play Saturday, Alamosa (4-6) will make the short San Luis Valley drive south to La Jara and face Centauri (5-5) in a pair starting at 11 a.m. Meanwhile, Monte Vista (4-6) is slated to travel west over Wolf Creek Pass and visit Montezuma-Cortez (4-3).
Bobcats still searchingStill hunting their first win in 2019, the Ignacio Bobcats are scheduled to continue 2A/1A San Juan Basin League play this Friday with a trip to Nucla. IHS slipped to 0-8 overall, 0-3 SJBL with a 16-4 home loss Monday to Dolores, and will face a Mustangs team which had, two days before, blanked them 11-0 in five innings behind perfect-game pitching by sophomore left-hander Tyler Wytulka.
“I changed speeds a little bit, but I was more focused on hitting my spots with my fastball, going in and out, getting it up or down. That’s all I was working,” he’d said, not at all surprised by his gem’s dramatic conclusion, as he got the final out against Ignacio designated hitter Holland Roukema, anything but an easy out.
“The last pitch, it was 3-2 and I had to throw a strike to keep it,” said Wytulka, who ended the game with a called third strike squeezed by catcher J.D. Brantingham. “From my bullpen, I knew I was going to throw strikes, and then it carried into the game.”
Ranked No. 2 in this week’s CHSAANow.com Class 1A rankings, Nucla (2-0 SJBL) improved to 7-2 overall by destroying the 5A Grand Junction Central junior varsity 23-2 on Wednesday for their fifth consecutive victory.