Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
The Durango High School softball team’s early schedule, chock full of Class 5A programs, didn’t do them any favors.
On Friday, the Demons’ nerves, defense and timely hitting didn’t do them any favors, either.
Grand Junction Central scored eight times combined in the fifth and sixth innings of Game 1 after DHS missed an opportunity to halve the lead, and the Warriors took the first game 12-0 in six innings and the second 11-0 in five against the Demons on Friday at Aspen Field in Durango’s season-openers.
Pitcher/infielder Lexy Vidunas said getting the nerves under control and quickly acclimating the new varsity players will be key as DHS (0-2, 0-2 Southwestern League) looks to bounce back today against powerful Fruita Monument.
“We really have to work on not being nervous because I know we were coming in here thinking that we are starting so early and starting with the hardest teams we’re going to face all season, so we have to clean that up for sure,” said Vidunas, daughter of Denise and Joe Vidunas.
DHS had a shot to jump back into the first game. Trailing 4-0 in the fourth, Augusta Brockus singled, Sidney Corbin walked, and Mercy Lashway’s groundout moved them into scoring position with two outs.
But Amanda Etcheverry, who allowed just four hits and struck out eight to pick up the win, got Cindy Kobrin to ground out to end the threat.
After that, Central solved Brockus and the DHS defense, which committed three of its four errors in the final two frames.
“Didn’t have too much clutch hitting (Friday). ... Just the nature of the game. I think we certainly could do better, as we discussed, at the plate,” DHS head coach John Bernazzani said. “And probably a little defense. Not going to make excuses about it being the opener.”
The Warriors (3-0, 2-0 SWL) came out firing again in Game 2 off Vidunas, scoring three times in the first and twice in the second. Big damage was done in the fourth when an error by the left fielder allowed Central to plate four unearned runs.
“I really just want to work on making them hit more groundballs. I want to work lower in the zone because working high, while it works sometimes, they were just hitting too hard, and I think Fruita’s going to hit really hard, too,” Vidunas said.
Corbin and Jeffryes had a hit apiece for the Demons in their Game 2 defeat. Brockus was 2-for-3 in the opener, while Jeffryes and Mackenzie Sill added hits in the loss.