Panther softball walloped by Demons

First baseman Kitty Wallace catches a fly ball for an out Tuesday against Durango. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

First baseman Kitty Wallace catches a fly ball for an out Tuesday against Durango.

To call it a tough day on the diamond would be an understatement. Playing against a tough Durango High School squad at Englehart Field, the Montezuma-Cortez High School Panthers’ softball team was dominated throughout, eventually losing 16-1.

With the loss, the Panthers fell to 0-5, while Durango improved to 2-4.

“The girls have good days and bad days,” said head coach Brett Martin, describing the loss. “Today was a bad day. From a coaching perspective, I was not happy with the performance. The girls have more ability in them than what they have shown.”

After allowing Durango to score three runs in the first inning, three runs in the second inning and another run in the third, the Panthers found themselves in a 7-0 hole entering the bottom of the third. At that point, a brief glimmer of hope was realized when sophomore Larissa Martin came home from third base after the ball skipped by Durango’s catcher, to score the Panthers’ only run.

After scoring a run, however, the Panthers’ defense fell apart. Down 7-1, the Panthers committed multiple errors in the field, which led to nine consecutive Durango runs and effectively put the game out of reach.

“We made way too many fielding errors,” said Martin. “Whether it was first-home-game jitters or not, I’m not sure. In that fourth inning, the errors became contagious.”

Unfortunately for the Panthers, the six defensive miscues spoiled a somewhat solid pitching performance by sophomore Tayla Topaha. Although Topaha surrendered 14 hits in her complete-game pitching effort, the damage would against her would have been far less had the Panther defense backed her up.

“(Topaha) looked good on the mound,” said Martin. “She threw a lot of pitches, though. We need to work on getting her pitch-count down.”

Hoping to improve on their recent performances, the Panthers will resume play on the road against Montrose High School on Sept. 13.

“We have about 10 days to improve,” said Martin. “Hopefully we can improve our fielding and hitting.”