Demons pick up breathing room

DHS baseball in first in SWL with two to play

In a battle between state-ranked teams jostling for playoff positioning and the Southwestern League title, the Durango High School baseball team came up with one of its best showings of the year.

DHS, ranked No. 9 in Class 4A by The Denver Post, topped No. 4 Montrose 9-5 on Friday in Montrose, picking up much-needed breathing room in the SWL title race.

The win moves the Demons to 11-6 and 6-2 in the SWL and drops Montrose to 4-3 in league, 11-3 overall. DHS finishes the season with today’s game against Grand Junction and Thursday’s tilt with Montezuma-Cortez.

“It was huge,” DHS head coach Rob Coddington said of the win. “Montrose, they’ve been playing very well. ... And the guys didn’t get rattled.”

Joe Brennan battled through 5 2/3 innings, allowing nine hits and five earned runs to pick up the victory. George Mayberry entered an 8-5 game in the sixth inning and got the last four outs to earn the save.

Blake Dunlap was 2-for-4 with a solo home run, and Joe Keresey was 2-for-4 with a run driven in.

“He had two outstanding catches in the outfield,” Coddington said of Keresey. “One, he went up against the wall in the seventh, made a great catch and got the first out.”

Easton Garcia scored three times and had a hit for Durango, and Mayberry doubled and drove in a run.

Mostly, Coddington said he was happy with the way the Demons bounced back from Tuesday’s 9-4 loss against Piedra Vista.

“I was just real pleased with how we bounced back from the way we played Tuesday to (Friday),” he said.