FARMINGTON – It took some time Thursday, but once the Piedra Vista baseball team figured things out at the plate, the Panthers were unstoppable.
Going into the bottom of the fifth inning of a scoreless tie against Valencia, PV erupted for 11 runs to end the game after five with an 11-0 victory during the first round of the PV Invitational at Ricketts Park.
Prior to the 11-run explosion, the Panthers couldn’t get anything going against the Jaguars, recording just one hit through the first four innings.
“It’s about the third time this season that we haven’t gotten off the bus,” PV head coach Mike McGaha said. “I don’t know if it was because we were sitting out here all day chasing foul balls and eating food from the concession stand, I don’t know. You never know when you’re dealing with teenagers.”
With the bases loaded and no outs in the fifth, Kyle Dewees singled to bring Cody Foster in for the first run of the game. In the next at-bat, Elijah Gamboa singled to shallow center, but Valencia’s Garrett Clayton mishandled the ball, allowing the bases to clear to make it 4-0.
After two more runs crossed, Foster laid down a bunt for a suicide squeeze. Coming home from third was Logan Klunder, who slid in under the tag for a run. Valencia catcher Daniel Cable threw to third, trying to catch Panther baserunner Sam Moody, but the throw was off target and rolled into left field, allowing Moody to score and Foster to advance to second.
Dewees later ended the game with a triple that scored two.
McGaha said the difference between the first four innings and the fifth was the Panthers being more disciplined at the plate.
“We let the ball get deeper in the zone and hit it to the opposite field instead of trying to pull everything over the left-field wall every time,” he said.
Fabian Magallanes got the win for the Panthers, and McGaha said it was the best he’d seen the senior compete.
PV will play Fruita Monument out of Fruita, Colo., in the semifinals at 4:30 p.m. today.
Farmington 2, Durango, Colo., 0
When Farmington needed a big play, the Scorps came up with it.
In the bottom of the fifth, with the bases loaded and both teams scoreless, Ethan Secrest drove the ball into left-center field for a two-RBI double, lifting FHS to a 2-0 win over Durango, Colo., in the first round of the Piedra Vista Invitational Thursday morning at Ricketts Park.
“He’s been that guy. When he’s had that opportunity, he’s been successful,” Farmington head coach Sean Trotter said of Secrest. “I keep harping on him to swing the bat. He likes to stand in there and take pitches, and I tell him to go take three swings and either go to first or go to the dugout, because he’s a pretty good hitter.”
Prior to the fifth inning, Farmington struggled to get on base, recording no hits and putting just three players on base in the first four innings.
Dominic Martinez got the win for the Scorps, giving up three hits over six innings.
“He pitched really well this morning,” Trotter said. “He’s a strike thrower. He changed speeds a little bit and threw some off-speed pitches for strikes and pitched on both sides of the plate.”
Behind Martinez, the Farmington defense played a near-perfect game and showed resolve after putting runners on second and third with no outs in the top of the fifth.
Durango reached first on a lead-off bunt after the throw from third baseman Garrett Farmer pulled Secrest off the bag. During the next at-bat, Max Hyson singled to right-center to advance Andrew Selser to third. And while the Scorps complained to the umpire about the play at third, Hyson advanced to second.
But the Scorps responded positively to the blunder.
Martinez got Mark Lamoreaux to ground out, which held the runners at second and third. Then another ground ball ended with a play at the plate and Selser being called out. The next at-bat ended with a fly ball to Gavin Martin in center field to end the inning.
“It was awesome,” Trotter said of the sequence. “(Martinez) threw ground balls, and that was big. To have second and third with no outs, and to get out of there without giving up a run, that’s it. If we throw strikes, we have a chance.”
Farmington will play Colorado’s Pueblo West at 2 p.m. today.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.