Steve Lewis/Durango Herald
Good teams do not need extra runs, but they will take them.
And despite a furious Durango rally, those early extra runs helped Montrose keep the Demons at bay. Montrose scored nine runs in the first three innings, then held off the Durango High School baseball team 14-10 in the Demons’ home- and Southwestern League-opener Saturday afternoon.
The Indians quickly jumped out of the gates, using a walk and a pair of errors to set the table, and Chase Bradburn’s bloop single dropped in to drive in the first run after some miscommunication between DHS infielders. Garrett Zarkis’ fielder’s choice plated another run, then Skyler Haynes plated another with an RBI single off DHS starter and losing pitcher Ben Wiley.
An error to start the second inning allowed Brennan Woodruff to reach, and a throwing error during a rundown invovling another baserunner allowed him to score. Wild pitches brought home two more runs that inning, and Tyrus Lopez’s sacrifice fly plated the fourth of the frame. The Demons got one back on Tyler Worley’s RBI single in the bottom of the inning. All told, the Demons (5-4, 0-1 SWL) committed four errors in the first three innings, then committed none over the final four frames.“Problem was just not getting our head in it right away from the beginning and taking a little too long to get dialed in,” said Jeremy Szura, son of Kari and Matt Szura.Peter Shearer’s two-out, two-run single in the third inning drove home two more runs, while RBI doubles from Josh Robertson and Ben Cruz built the lead to 11-1 in the top of the fifth, putting DHS in jeopardy of being mercy-ruled.
But the Demons would respond, finally getting to Haynes, who eventually picked up the victory on the mound. DHS batted around in the fifth to keep the game alive, with Connor Dugan driving in a run with a bases-loaded walk, followed by Worley’s bases-clearing, three-RBI double that cut the deficit to 11-5. Szura’s RBI single plated the frame’s final run and trimmed the lead to a suddenly precarious 11-6. “We’re just trying to take the approach to see as many pitches, have quality at-bats, be tough outs,” DHS head coach Rob Coddington said. “And we know sometimes we’re going to be able to jump on people in the fourth, fifth and sixth.”
Montrose added an insurance run in the sixth, which was answered by DHS, and got a two-run double from Bradburn in the seventh to lead 14-7. “I guess the relievers should’ve got a little bit more focused, too, as well,” said Szura, one of Durango’s three relief pitchers Saturday. “Throw a little bit more strikes, give opportunities for plays.”Szura’s RBI double in the seventh preceded a towering two-run home run by Isiah Mayberry to trim the lead to 14-10, but DHS could get no closer off Montrose reliever Lopez. Szura went 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBIs, while Dugan was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and two driven in for the Demons. Bradburn was 3-for-5 with three RBIs, while Jake Kastendieck was 3-for-4 with two runs scored for the Indians.Despite the loss, Coddington said the way his team rallied offensively and eventually honed in on defense could bode well going forward, starting with Friday’s home game with Grand Junction Central.
“Unfortunately we came away with a loss, but I think that’s good momentum going into the rest of the league,” Coddington said.