Demons play for 2

Steve Lewis/Durango Herald file photo

Brooke Milliet will take her final regular-season kicks at 5 p.m. today at Riverview Sports Complex before heading up the hill to play for Fort Lewis College next year. Milliet leads the Demons’ girls soccer side into their Senior Day match against Montezuma-Cortez with seven goals.

By Ryan Owens Herald staff writer

Rivalry game. A share of the Southwestern League title on the line. Senior Day.

Durango High School sports fans who’d like to see that scenario play out have their pick of sports today, where the same things are on the line both for the baseball team and girls soccer team, respectively, against Montezuma-Cortez.

Baseball is first out of the gate, with first pitch scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at Durango High School. The Demons are coming off a split on the road last weekend, getting a critical win over Class 4A foe Montrose before falling to Class 5A Grand Junction.

Durango (11-7, 6-3 Southwestern League) sits a half-game ahead of Grand Junction and Fruita Monument, which each play twice this weekend.

While the Demons would need help to take the crown outright for the first time since 2009, a win would go a long way toward a possible hosting assignment in the postseason for the second consecutive season.

“There’s a lot of scenarios with what’s going to happen with the final league standings, but one thing that’s constant about all those scenarios is we have to win Thursday,” Durango head coach Rob Coddington said. “I think it’s as simple as that.”

It’s equally simple for the Demons’ girls soccer program when it meet the Panthers at 5 p.m. today at Riverview Sports Complex.

At 9-4-1 overall and 7-2-0 in the SWL, the Demons hold a slight edge over Grand Junction at 6-2-0 and Fruita Monument at 6-3-0.

A win coupled with a loss by the Tigers in either of their games this weekend would give Durango the title outright.

A win also would give Durango at least a share of its fourth league title in six years under head coach Aaron Eldridge. And, like baseball, it’d give the Demons’ girls soccer side a chance to open the Class 4A playoffs at home.

“We’ve already clinched a playoff position. It’d be really nice to get the league title, host a home game,” Eldridge said. “We haven’t done that in a couple of years.”

It also would be a proper regular-season sendoff for 10 soccer seniors and a clean sweep of a Cortez team Durango beat 5-nil April 17. With the possibility of Senior Day distractions, Eldridge said having so much on the line could help Durango’s focus.

“It’s a difficult day to stay focused because it’s the last guaranteed home match for the seniors, and we have 10 seniors,” he said. “I think they’ve done a really good job staying focused dealing with prom and other things.”

Ever since a lackluster showing in a 3-0 loss at home to Grand Junction, the Demons have won three in a row on the pitch, thanks in large part to the output of sisters Brooke and Lauren Milliet.

Senior Brooke Milliet leads DHS with seven goals, while Lauren Milliet is tied for second on the team with five goals and four assists.

It appears the Durango girls are peaking at the proper time on the pitch.

“I wouldn’t want to jinx that, but I think sometimes it takes a little bit of adversity to refocus. The girls have done a fantastic job,” Eldridge said.

A win on the baseball field would help point the Durango boys in the right direction after having lost three of its last five. For that, the Demons will turn to ace Joe Brennan (5-2, 3.58 ERA).

“He’s going to start the game (today), for sure,” Coddington said. “And Joe does a good job. The one thing Joe Brennan has consistently done the last three years on the mound for us is give us a chance to win.”

Two teams. Two titles on the line.

Play ball.


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