Panthers lose league opener

Bobby Abplanalp/Cortez Journal

M-CHS starting pitcher Dayne Black throws a fastball Friday afternoon against Montrose at McAndrew Field. The Panthers lost 14-4 in five innings.

By Bobby Abplanalp Journal staff writer

The Panthers had figured out Montrose starting pitcher Tyrus Lopez.

Trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the third inning last Friday, Panthers' right fielder Keegan Ralstin led off with a single.

Raudy Castillo reached first off an error the next at bat. Then, Keegan's older brother Tallon Ralstin perfectly placed his hit just over the infield for a single.

It was bases loaded, no outs for Montezuma-Cortez High School.

However, the McAndrew Field faithful got frustrated when it became bases loaded, two outs, no runs.

Panthers fans' angst mounted when Montrose's shortstop fielded a ground ball and threw to first for the would-be third out. But the errant throw flew past the first baseman and two M-CHS runs scored.

Eddie Martinez then belted an RBI-single to tie the game 4-4, which is where the score stood going into the fourth inning.

The game remained knotted 4-4 after four, but in the fifth inning, the visiting Montrose Indians attacked.

Montrose scored 10 runs in the top of the fifth against M-CHS pitchers Dayne Black and Ryan Rich to take control.

The deflated Panthers didn't score in the bottom fifth and went onto to lose the battle in five innings, 14-4.

"We started off first couple innings, these guys were playing exactly how I wanted them to," first-year M-CHS coach Matt Betts said. "We came in, they were ready to go. It was a baseball game. Pure as a baseball game can be."

It was the Southwestern League opener for both teams. Montrose (9-0, 2-0 SWL) definitely staked its case as a frontrunner for the league championship.

M-CHS (6-2, 0-1 SWL), on the other hand, must go back to the drawing board.

"I think for us, the real thing that we're going to have to focus on is playing the offensive game in the league," Betts said. "You can't stop these hitters. We're not going to be able to go out and throw a no-hitter or shut them out. We got to come out and put up the offensive numbers that they do, if we want to have a chance of beating them."

Garrett Zarkis hit a one out, RBI-double that scored two runs and put the Indians ahead for good up 6-4.

Black was relieved for M-CHS after 4 1/3 innings with the score 10-4.

Rich got the Panthers out of the fifth inning allowing four runs, which resulted in the final margin.

"A tough loss, man. I'm kind of mad at it," said Panthers senior first baseman Gerardo Martinez. "We started off really hard, you know, hitting balls, getting quick outs. In one inning, we let it slip by. It hurts."

Montrose out-hit M-CHS, 14-6. The Panthers had a tough time with Lopez's fastball, excluding the fourth inning.

"We haven't seen any fast pitching over 70 (miles per hour)," Martinez said. "We weren't used to it."

The 4A Panthers continue league play at home on Friday and Saturday against 5A foes Fruita Monument and Grand Junction Central at 3:30 and 12:30 p.m.

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