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IHS sweeps 70-run twin bill against Dove Creek
Ignacio's Rylan Maez (23) connects for a single during the first of two 2A/1A San Juan Basin League road games Tuesday at Dove Creek. Maez would go 1-4 with a run in IHS' 13-2, six-inning win, then go 2-3 in game two with an incredible eight runs scored helping the Bobcats beat the Bulldogs 38-17 in a regulation seven innings. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

DOLORES COUNTY – Intentionally walked in the top of the fifth inning, senior Phillip Quintana then led off Ignacio’s sixth with a solo homer sparking an 11-run explosion increasing the visitors’ lead to a jaw-dropping 18 runs during the second game of Tuesday’s away doubleheader.

In game one, Dove Creek lost 13-2 in six innings but despite the final margin, was never out of the game but left eight runners in scoring position and a hair-graying 13 on base against Devante Montoya (W; 5 IP, 3 H, R, 6 BB, 2 HB, 8 K) and reliever Stoney White Thunder (IP, R, K) in a game lasting two hours, eight minutes.

Against DCHS starter Hunter Daves, the Bobcats managed just two runs in the first four innings and began the fifth ahead 2-1 before breaking loose for seven runs.

Aiden Chadd (2 IP, 4 R, H, 4 BB, 4 K) managed to contain the fire, but couldn’t fully extinguish it as Ignacio scratched out four runs in the top of the sixth and ended the game.

Dove Creek responded in the second game and went up 1-0 after an inning.

Ahead 2-1, the ’Cats then threatened to rip the contest wide-open and put together five runs in the top of the third, with Maez first to reach base and score along with brother Marcus Maez, when Archuleta belted an opposite-field, two-out double to right.

Suddenly behind by a half-dozen, the Bulldogs battled back and manufactured six runs in the bottom of the third, with the last three all coming around via a two-out, bases-loaded DeJane triple to deep left-center. The game, tied at 7-7, was essentially brand-new.

Smacking a sacrifice fly to center, Daves drove in Jonathan Purkat for Dove Creek’s fourth-inning reply, and the Bobcats’ advantage was trimmed to 10-8.

Clipping DeJane’s mitt with a swing, Marcus Maez was a catcher-obstruction beneficiary and Ignacio benefited with a Quintana run. Rylan Maez then scored via a wild pitch to Archuleta, as did Valdez just seconds later.

Quintana (W; 5.1 IP, 10 H, 11 R, 3 BB, 8 K) worked swiftly in the bottom of the fifth, and the ’Cats came up to the plate in the sixth looking to perhaps set up another mercy-rule victory. Quintana, as noted earlier, led off with a homer and Rylan Maez followed with a double. Valdez then walked and Chadd was pulled in favor of Purkat.

Facing six batters, Purkat was unable to get Dove Creek out of the inning and was charged with four allowed runs – two via a one-out Montoya double. White Thunder then walked, reloading the bases.

Hassell was DCHS’ ninth hitter in the bottom of the sixth and promptly scored via a Beanland single. Buffington then scored Beanland with a single, and reached third via a Purkat single ending White Thunder’s relief stint. Attempting to pick Buffington off, new pitcher Rylan Maez threw wild and Buffington scored to close the gap to 26-17 – meaning a seventh inning would be played.

Still facing Kibel, IHS’ first five batters reached and scored. Mendoza-Lechuga then singled, took second on the outfielder’s throw trying to retire Archuleta at third, and then scored along with Archuleta (3-6, 2 2B, 2 BB, ERR, 4 R, 5 RBI) via a Dunbar single.

Making his eighth plate appearance, Montoya (2-2, 2 2B, 5 BB, HBP, 3 R, 3 RBI) then walked and Daves brought Ivie in to pitch. White Thunder then knocked a two-RBI double and took third via Quintana’s short single to right.

Marcus Maez then again grounded out to third baseman Hunter Daves, but scored his brother on the play – giving Rylan Maez (2-3, 2B, ERR, 3 BB, 2 HBP, 3 RBI) an unbelievable eight runs in eight plate appearances, and Ignacio had 38 as a whole before Mendoza-Lechuga struck out with Valdez on third and Archuleta occupying second after reaching on a Daves error.

Ignacio's Phillip Quintana receives a hard-hat salute from Stoney White Thunder (10) after crushing a two-run homer during the first of two 2A/1A San Juan Basin League road games Tuesday at Dove Creek. Quintana would smack a solo homer during the second game as the Bobcats defeated the Bulldogs 13-2 and 38-17. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

All told, each ’Cat but Dunbar recorded eight plate appearances in the 38-17 conquest – improving Ignacio to 6-4 overall and 3-0 in SJBL play while dropping Dove Creek to 5-7, 2-2.

Marcus Maez (1-5, ERR, SAC-FLY, BB, 5 RBI) scored four times as the brothers totaled an incredible 12 runs. Mendoza-Lechuga finished 4-7 with a walk, two runs and five RBI. Valdez (3-4, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI in Game 1) scored five times and ended up 2-5 with three walks and three RBI.

Ignacio hitters totaled 19 walks and were hit by five errant offerings – meaning DCHS surrendered 24 free bases, leading to 18 runs against. By comparison, the Bulldogs drew just eight walks and weren’t tagged by any pitches.

The Bobcats will host Bayfield at 1 p.m. Friday then travel for a nonleague pair the next day at 2A Trinidad.