Steve Lewis/Durango Herald
Easton Garcia started the Durango High School baseball team’s half of the first inning with a blast – literally.
It didn’t get any better from there for visiting Delta.
Garcia’s solo home run started an 11-run opening inning, and Durango scored six times in the second and four in the third en route to a 21-0, five-inning victory over the Panthers on Tuesday at Durango High School.
The Demons were relentless at the plate, racking up 19 total hits, including nine extra-base hits, and they batted around in three of the four innings in which they hit.
“I was just trying to put a good swing on the ball,” Garcia said of the homer.
“Everyone on the team, we’ve been working hard (on) staying back, waiting that split second,” he said.
The hitting heroes were plentiful for DHS (8-4).
Mark Kobrin was 4-for-4 with two triples, four RBIs and four runs scored.
Garcia was 3-for-4 with four runs scored and an RBI.
Joe Keresey singled three times, drove in four and scored once.
And Joe Brennan was 2-for-3 with four runs driven in and a triple.
For Durango head coach Rob Coddington, it was a beautiful sight, especially with a return to Southwestern League action looming. DHS will host Fruita Monument and Grand Junction Central this weekend.
“I was real proud of how they swung the bats (Tuesday). ... Guys got a lot of good work (Tuesday),” Coddington said.
Garcia said a tip from Coddington’s father, Jim Coddington, helped him right the ship in the leadoff spot.
“The last week or so, ‘the Codfather’ (Jim Coddington) was, all week long, telling me to try to drive stuff up the middle, up the middle,” said Garcia, son of Alfonso and Yvette Garcia.
Seemingly lost in the shuffle was the pitching performance from Durango starter Ty Elliott (1-0) in his first start of the season.
Elliott threw four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and two total baserunners while striking out two and walking one.
After Keaton Reiher’s single to lead off the game, Elliott sat down 10 consecutive batters before issuing a walk to Isaiah Kathrein to open the fourth inning.
“Ty is going to be a big help for us, this year and especially his senior year. I’m real proud of how he pitched (Tuesday). ... I thought he had good stuff,” Coddington said.
Christian Vigil pitched a scoreless fifth to wrap up things for Durango.
Reiher took the loss for the Panthers, who beat Durango in the Class 4A playoffs last season, allowing 11 runs on seven hits in 1/3 of an inning.
Durango, 3-1 in the SWL, will host the Wildcats (9-4, 3-1 SWL) at 3:30 p.m. Friday in a battle for first place in the conference before the Warriors (7-4, 1-2 SWL) come to town for a 12:30 p.m. start Saturday.