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Playoffs or no playoffs? Pirates play waiting game

Staff Writer

SUN photo/Terri House Caden Henderson focuses on his catcher during the first half of last Saturday’s home doubleheader against the 14-3 Bayfield Wolverines. Despite a rough outing in the 11-0 loss, Henderson holds an impressive 2.62 ERA.

SUN photo/Terri House
Caden Henderson focuses on his catcher during the first half of last Saturday’s home doubleheader against the 14-3 Bayfield Wolverines. Despite a rough outing in the 11-0 loss, Henderson holds an impressive 2.62 ERA.

With a pair of losses to league-leading Bayfield last Saturday, the Pagosa Springs High School Pirate baseball team dropped to a 3-5 league mark and 7-9 overall record.

Now, with the regular season winding down, the Pirates are playing a different kind of game — the waiting game — to know if they’ll advance to the playoffs.

As of Wednesday morning, the Pirates sat in third place within the Intermountain League, behind Bayfield (6-0 league, 14-3 overall) and Alamosa (4-2 league, 11-6 overall), and ahead of Centauri (2-5 league, 6-6-1 overall) and Monte Vista (1-5 league, 3-10 overall).

The Pirates have no remaining games against conference opponents, and thus their playoff picture is now left up to their league opponents following their losses to Bayfield last weekend.

This weekend, Centauri will matchup with Bayfield. Alamosa will face off with Monte Vista, as well.

The top three teams in the league advance to the postseason, meaning if Bayfield defeats Centauri in both games Saturday, the Pirates will move on.

If Centauri and Bayfield split the doubleheader, Centauri would claim the third league spot and move on based on the season series between the Pirates and Falcons, which comes down to run differentials in each team’s wins.

“So, it’s up in the air until after Saturday’s games,” coach Jim Fait summarized Wednesday morning.

Bayfield is ranked 10th in Colorado 3A baseball.

But, while they wait, the Pirates hope to better their chances for receiving a more favorable seed as they draw the regular season to a close today.

“It would be really good if we won … in our last two regular-season games just because it would help our seeding,” coach Jim Fait said Wednesday morning in anticipation of games Wednesday (April 30) and today, May 1.

Brackets, including seeding, for the first portion of playoffs, districts, are set to be released on May 7, with the first round of games to be played on May 10.

The results of Wednesday’s home game against the 2A Sanford Indians Wednesday afternoon will be included in next week’s issue of The SUN.

Today, the Pirates head to Monte Vista for their final regular-season game against Sargent High School, also a 2A team.

That matchup is scheduled for 4 p.m.

This week’s game will also determine if the Pirates will win nine games on the season — something that hasn’t been done since at least 2007 (the team went 8-4 that year).

Should the team advance to districts next week, Fait listed three keys to success for the team:

• Pitching: Fait said Caden Henderson will be the team’s No. 1 starter for the first district game, with Dean Scott and Tyler Manzanares being the leading candidates for the second district game (should the Pirates play and win their first).

• Fielding: “Of course, fielding’s going to be important. We can’t make errors against good opponents,” Fait said.

• Hitting: The team is working to return to fundamentals in order to heat up their bats.

“Fundamentals. Just concentrate on fundamentals and make contact with the ball,” Fait said, adding the team needed to work on getting the ball in play. “If we put the ball in play, a lot of times good things happen.”

But, regardless of the outcome, Fait’s hopes are simple.

“I just hope the kids step up,” Fait said. “If we lose and we play well, I’m OK with that.”

Last Saturday, the team dropped both halves of a doubleheader to Bayfield, with the Pirates knocking only eight hits in the two games, with only two runs scored by Pagosa on the day.

Pagosa dropped the first half of the doubleheader 11-0, with Bayfield scoring one in the first, five in the second, one in the fourth, one in the fifth and three in the seventh.

Henderson pitched a complete game for the Pirates despite it being his roughest outing of the season.

In the game, Henderson (who has an impressive 2.62 ERA on the season according to stats on MaxPreps) allowed 11 runs (seven earned) on 16 hits and five walks while striking out two.

The Pirates also struggled with run support for Henderson, only tallying five hits in the game — two from Austin Harker (including a double) and one each from Kennan Goebel, Luke DeVooght and Scott (a double).

The Pirates also ended the game with two errors.

The Pirates did not fare much better in the second half of the day’s events, when they fell to the Wolverines by a score of 14-2.

In that game, the Wolverines scored one in the first, three in the second, three in the third, six in the fourth and one in the fifth.

The Pirates scored two on a double by Zach DeVooght in the fourth — Zach DeVooght’s first varsity hit.

“Zach hit that ball hard. It was one bounce to the fence in center,” Fait said.

Luke DeVooght and Marcos Quezada each knocked a hit in the game, bringing the team’s total to three.

Bayfield tallied 15 hits.

Quezada and Scott split the pitching duties in the game’s five innings, allowing 14 runs (nine earned) on 15 hits and one walk while Scott struck out two.

The Pirates erred three times in the game.

randi@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on May 1, 2014.