Anticipating a start on the mound Tuesday afternoon at 4A Durango, Lance Mazur expressed full-on readiness for the likely assignment, even after a pair of difficult outings his last two times out.
Mazur knows he might not see such opposition again until the postseason.
Given the ball to begin Bayfield’s game against University (Greeley), at the time ranked No. 2 in Class 3A, the senior right-hander was again on the hill this past Saturday against none other than No. 1 Eaton, possibly the most pedigreed program in the Centennial State.
Facing the Reds on neutral ground – the Runyon Sports Complex in Pueblo – Bayfield not only had to contend with an opposing hurler who assistant coach Clay Miller said “was living right around 92,” but also a senior shortstop drawing “a pile of scouts.” And Mother Nature too; winds reportedly blowing between 25 and 40 miles per hour helped knock the temperature down considerably as BHS fell 11-1 in five innings, but only after EHS erupted for eight in the bottom of the fifth.
Going 1-for-2, senior first baseman Noah Chamblee logged the Wolverines’ only hit against senior scorcher Tate Smith (W; 4 IP, H, 2 BB, 9 K), but ripped the delivery for a double and scored when senior Jackson Queen (0-1, BB) recorded an RBI.
“I think the intensity was down, overall, from what it would be; it was really cold … and that kind of hit everyone in the face,” said Mazur (L; 4 IP, 4 R, 2 ER, 5 K). Mazur was lifted in the Reds’ fifth in favor of senior Caden Wood (7 R, 2 ER) with the score still close at 4-1. “But once the game actually started going, after the first inning when they scored two, we came back and scored a bit … and (the intensity) was there; you could definitely feel it.”
Smith went 2-for-3 with two RBIs in his own support. Featured attraction Walker Martin went hit less, but did manage to reach base a couple times, swipe a couple bags and score twice.
Senior Ryder True reportedly went 1-3 with a run and three batted in. Junior Gunnar Duncan went 1-4 with a double, a run and two RBIs. Junior Lucas Stone went 1-2 with a double, two walks and three runs scored in EHS’ 15th consecutive victory dating back to last season – including a 2022 state championship win over Patriot League rival University.
“University, not as much, but with Eaton we … got knowledge of how good we could actually do against the best team in the state,” Mazur said. “I feel like the score doesn’t really show how good of a game it really was.”
And while EHS improved to 4-0 overall with an 11-1 win later in the day over Alamosa (4-2, 0-0 3A Intermountain), Bayfield (4-2, 0-0) bounced back upon Andenucio Field with a 6-3 win over quad-hosting Brush, who’d just lost 5-3 to AHS.
Breaking out with three first-inning runs, the Wolverines and Beetdiggers (0-3, 0-0 PL) then kept each other scoreless until each logged three in the sixth. Queen got the start and earned the win for BHS, firing a reported six frames and striking out 13 while allowing just two hits and one earned run. Wood then dealt a one-hit seventh inning to lock up the victory.
Actually kept off the base paths by Eaton, senior Nic Twedt went 2-for-3 with a triple and two runs scored against Brush. Chamblee went 3-4 with a walk and three RBIs. Wood went 1-3 with a double, walk and two runs. Mazur went 2-3 with a walk and a run.
“I think it was good for us all around, even with the loss,” Mazur said. “Honestly, because it just goes to show who’s the best and that we’ve got to be on par. And it gave me confidence that, you know, we could compete.”
And that would certainly bode well for a date with the Durango Demons on Tuesday after this paper went to press. DHS is also off to a 4-2 overall start.
“We’ll see how it goes,” Mazur said. “I’m feeling pretty good; facing Eaton … gets you prepared for lots of teams.”