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The Pagosa Springs Pirates launched themselves to victory over the Monte Vista Pirates in two games Saturday, thanks in part to two homers from Pagosa’s Caden Henderson — one of which was a grand slam.
The wins, both league matches, are a further testament to the team’s improvement this season.
With the wins, this year’s team has already surpassed last year’s win total (four) and tied the number of wins against league opponents (two).
The first win, by a score of 4-1, followed an effort led by Caden Henderson on the mound.
In the game, Henderson allowed only one run while striking out 11, allowing two hits and walking five in a complete game of seven innings.
“Caden pitched a good game,” coach Jim Fait said. “He didn’t give up an earned run.”
With the effort, Henderson’s ERA now sits at 1.31.
Henderson also helped the team from the other side of the mound, going two for three in the game with a two-run home run and two runs scored.
“He did really good, and the whole team did really good,” Fait said.
Three other Pirates had a two-hit game, as well — Tyler Manzanares went two for four with a run scored, Keenan “Bubba” Earley went two for three (a performance Fait highlighted) and Dean Scott went two for three with a double and a run scored.
Austin Harker notched a hit and an RBI in the game, Martin Rodriguez tallied one hit, and Kennan Goebel added an RBI for the team.
In that game, neither team scored until the fourth inning, when Pagosa broke out for two runs.
Pagosa then added two more runs in the top of the sixth off a two-run shot from Henderson before Monte Vista scored their sole run in the bottom of that inning.
Pagosa committed one error in the game (again a throwing error), while Monte Vista committed three.
After a short break, the teams were at it again, and Pagosa jumped into the lead in commanding fashion early in the game.
Pagosa scored two in the top of the first, adding five more in the second.
The team was back at it again in the fourth, breaking out for eight runs, giving Pagosa a 15-0 lead, thanks in part to Henderson’s grand slam.
Monte Vista struck back in the bottom of the fourth, though, scoring two, and added three more in the bottom of the fifth, but were unable to score the additional 10 runs needed to match Pagosa.
The final score of the game was 15-5 in favor of Pagosa.
“That was kind of a blowout,” Fait said, adding, “They were really pounding the ball.”
Henderson again led the team offensively thanks to his five RBIs, four of which came from his grand slam. He went two for four in the game with three runs scored.
Harker also scored three runs in the game, going two for two with an RBI.
Manzanares went two for three in the game with two doubles, scoring both times and recording one RBI.
Luke DeVooght also knocked a double in the game while going three for four with four RBIs and one run scored.
Scott, too, doubled in the game, going one for two with two runs and an RBI.
Marcos Quezada scored two and had two RBIs in the game while officially going one for two.
Goebel also scored a run in the game, as did Rodriguez.
Earley added a hit to the team’s total of 12.
Scott pitched 4.1 innings in the game, striking out seven, allowing three runs on one hit and walking three.
“Dean Scott had a great game pitching,” Fait said. “He did pretty good.”
Manzanares followed in relief, walking two and allowing two runs before Briar Erskine entered the game to get the final two outs and the save.
Erskine struck out one in his appearance.
The Pirates erred three times in the game, with two being throwing errors, while Monte Vista erred five times.
With the pair of wins, the Pirates hold a five-game win streak — the first since at least 2006, Fait said. It was also the first doubleheader win for the team since 2009.
“So, I’m real proud of the kids,” Fait said.
This Saturday, the hometown Pirates will look to keep their streak alive as they welcome the Alamosa Mean Moose to town for a doubleheader, with game times set at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The games are free and open to the public.
The Mean Moose baseball team is 4-6 on the season, with two league losses to Bayfield.
“We’ve got to hit the ball,” Fait said, adding about Alamosa, “They have strong pitching and they’re solid, usually, on defense.”
Too, Fait said the team is working on making quality throws after fielding slow rollers in order to lessen the errors committed by the team.
“Sometimes they get too excited throwing the ball,” Fait noted.
And the team will have to do it without at least two starters, who will be gone for spring break.
Following Saturday’s doubleheader — the start of a stretch of six games in a week for the team — the Pirates will head to Sanford for a 4 p.m. matchup.
Following that, the Pirates will welcome the Ignacio Bobcats for an April 17 game at 3 p.m. in Pagosa, and will face Centauri in a league doubleheader April 19.