Trading a win for a loss, the Pirate baseball team started the season with mixed results, but an indication of promise for an impressive season.
Travelling to Chaffee County on Saturday, the Pirate bats exploded in the first game of a cross-county doubleheader. Despite biting winds and bitter cold, Pagosa had an outstanding performance against the Buena Vista Demons.
Ryan Hujus threw 83 pitches during the game. “Ryan will have to be a big part of the pitching staff this year,” said coach Justin Caler.
After a leadoff home run by sophomore Austin Jackson, Michael Henderson and Cody Bowdridge combined for six hits throughout the game, with Bowdridge scoring a home run. Despite the chill, the Pirates’ hot bats overcame the Demons, giving Pagosa a 20-7 win in the season opener.
“We have a solid defense this year, with players like shortstop Wes Laverty,” said Caler, “which is a must if we plan on making a push for State. “
Moving a few miles down the road for their second game, the Pirates faced a much tougher team in the Salida Spartans. Coming out strong with six runs in the first inning, the Pirates looked prepared to put the game in their pocket from the start. Up 12-2 in the fifth, with two outs and bases loaded, the Pirates were unable to make the play and 10-run the Spartans for the inning. With Paul Hoffman going the distance on the mound, Pagosa was prepared to take the win home.
Unfortunately, the Pirate defense fell apart and, with the Spartans scoring seven runs in the final inning, Pagosa left with a 12-13 defeat.
“It was a tough loss,” said Caler, “especially since we had the game well in hand. As long as we can learn a few lessons from it, we can move forward as a better team.”
With home runs from Henderson and Preston Dale, and two solid hits from freshman Austin DeVrooght (on base four times), Caler remarked, “We swung the bats very well, from top to bottom.”
The Pirates travel to Moab, Utah, Friday to meet the Grand County High School Red Devils, with a second game scheduled for Saturday.