M-CHS softball season finale doomed by Demons

Durango base runner Sidney Corbin collides with M-CHS catcher Randy Elliott at home plate to score a run Thursday at Englehart Field. The Lady Panthers lost the softball game, 16-1. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Durango base runner Sidney Corbin collides with M-CHS catcher Randy Elliott at home plate to score a run Thursday at Englehart Field. The Lady Panthers lost the softball game, 16-1.

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 can’t 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 couldn’t score enough runs against a stingy Durango defense to extend the game.

“They’ve been hitting the ball pretty well all year. They hit the ball pretty well tonight. Just their (Durango’s) 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 Durango’s defensive intensity. Unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome for a young M-CHS squad.

“We’ve been starting five freshmen all year,” Elliott said. “There’s a lot of talent there. But I don’t think they realize what they’re in for, until they meet up with 5A schools like Fruita (Monument) or (Grand Junction) Central. But it’ll 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 he’s coached me,” said coach Elliot’s daughter Randy, who was named All-Conference as a junior. “He’s made into the player that I’ve 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 talent’s there. It’s just the lack of experience right now. We’ve 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.

bobbya@cortezjournal.com.

Durango’s Chane’l McClosky is unable to catch a throw from the catcher, as Vanessa Gapp is safe at second base for the Lady Panthers in Thursday softball action at Englehart Field. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Durango’s Chane’l McClosky is unable to catch a throw from the catcher, as Vanessa Gapp is safe at second base for the Lady Panthers in Thursday softball action at Englehart Field.