Known for putting the ball in play, Bayfield High School senior Rhett Hoover had never socked a homer in a game until doing so off Pagosa Springs’ Eric Huddleston during last Saturday’s doubleheader at Wolverine Field.
“He’s working hard on getting away from that little, looping swing to leftfield,” said BHS head coach Bert Miller. “When Rhett turns on the ball, he hits it as hard as anybody.”
The first baseman’s two-run shot to right-center occurred in the first contest. Junior Ethan Morris then sunk the Pirates in the second with a walk-off grand slam, his second bases-clearing blow this season, to left-center off P.J. Bailey.
“Morris is on fire right now,” Miller beamed after seeing his designated hitter and cleanup man finish the twinbill 4-for-8 with four runs scored and six runs batted in.
Batting eighth in the order and then sixth, Hoover went 4-for-7 with three runs and six RBIs.
And atop the stack, senior catcher Alec Demko set the 14-5, 12-1 sweep off by going a combined 4-for-8, including two doubles and a triple, with four runs scored and three RBIs.
“He leads the team in hits,” said Miller. “Great kid to have up there. Level-headed, does a great job and looks at a lot of pitches; that gives us the perfect lead-off hitter.”
Production at the top, through the middle and at the bottom end of the lineup is exactly what the boss had hoped to see in preparation to visit Montezuma-Cortez this Saturday for 3A Intermountain League play with a doubleheader set to begin at 11 a.m.
The Panthers will welcome the Wolverines (6-7, 2-0 IML) to McAndrew Field in Parque de Vida standing 6-4 overall and 1-1 in league after splitting two at home with Monte Vista last weekend. M-CHS, however, did pick up a bit of extra preparation Tuesday afternoon with a 6-5 home win over 1A Monticello, Utah.
Junior Preston Davidovich earned the win on the mound by working 5 1/3 innings and fanning nine before giving way to Ryan Medina with one out in the visitors’ sixth and allowing the senior to save the one-run lead.
Sophomore Ty Blackmer went 3-for-3 batting with two runs and an RBI, while Davidovich helped his own cause by going 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Senior Clayton Yoder went 1-2 with a triple and two runs scored.
And while such numbers bode well for Montezuma-Cortez, Miller was confident Bayfield could leave town with two more victories should his team’s aforementioned batters’ output continue.
“We’re starting to hit the ball better,” he said, “and we’re going to Cortez with everybody healthy and ready to play. We’ve got six quality pitchers on the team – we’re deep in pitching, and as long as we keep them throwing strikes, we’ll be fine.”
After facing M-CHS, Bayfield will then travel out east next Saturday to La Jara for an IML doubleheader against Centauri, which will visits Monte Vista this weekend before hosting 4A Durango on April 30.
Ignacio on the roadVictimized by double-digit scoring in every game but their season-opener, the Ignacio Bobcats will pause from 2A/1A San Juan Basin work with two winnable tests Friday against the 2A Western Slope.
Traveling north to neutral 4A Montrose, IHS (0-9, 0-4 SJBL) will face Meeker at 10 a.m., then Rangely at 12:30 p.m.
Both the Cowboys and Panthers have had their respective struggles, as well. Meeker stood just 2-9 overall prior to visiting 3A WSL member New Castle Coal Ridge (4-7) Thursday afternoon, while Rangely will go into a Friday-morning matchup with Dolores standing 2-7. The Bears, meanwhile, were 7-4 overall, 3-1 SJBL prior to visiting Monticello the previous afternoon.