Entering Wednesday’s doubleheader with Grand Junction, the Durango High School softball team tried to keep an open mind. Grand Junction came in to the game with a 2-7 overall record, but the Demons didn’t want to assume they would win or anything else.
“Against Montrose, I think we assumed a little,” said DHS senior Carly Piccoli. “Today we were just staying calm, going to work and doing what we came to do.’
The strategy worked.
Durango scored 14 runs in the first inning of the first game and cruised to a 15-0 win after two innings at bat.
“We really came out with a bang in the first game,” said DHS head coach John Bernazzani.
Durango then won the second game, 22-12.
“It feels good,” Piccoli said. “My freshman and sophomore years, it was always the other way around. We all had chips on our shoulders, and knew we could beat them. We came in with an open mind and did our best.”
The Demons only needed two innings on offense in the first game to enact the mercy rule. Every player in Durango’s lineup either scored or knocked in a run. Piccoli, the team’s lead-off hitter, scored three runs in the game while the No. 2 hitter, Alaysia Kremer, drove in a team-high 3 runs.
Teagan Kehm, Sydney Flores, Tehya Barnes. Kelly Arthur and Mia Baguskas all scored twice, and Baguskas drove in a pair.
On the mound, Kehm and Flores combined to throw a three-inning no-hitter.
“I felt pretty good,” Kehm said. “My pitches were hitting the right spot, and even if they hit them they weren’t going far.”
The Demons’ defense, however, committed three errors, which the coach called, “three too many.”
“I think defensively we could be a little cleaner,” Bernazzani said. “Perfection is hard, but we can keep striving for it.”
In game two, Grand Junction flipped the script and scored seven runs in the top of the first inning to jump out to a big lead. The Demons also lost Baguskas after she collided with Meah Mordecai going for a catch in the outfield.
The Demons, however, started chipping away immediately.
“That inning was rough,” Piccoli said. “For me, I was thinking that we got 15 in the last game so it won’t be hard to put a dent in it if not take the lead.”
After a line out turned into a double play, DHS put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the first. Barnes signaled home Kehm for the first run. Then Arthur hit a double down the line past the left fielder to bring home Flores and Barnes.
“As a team, I feel we do a great job when we’re down; we pick ourselves up,” Kehm said, mentioning the the team’s at bats with two outs and two strikes.
Grand Junction scored four more runs in the second, but Durango took the lead with seven in the bottom of the inning.
“To come back and chip away with three was great, then seven; it’s another indication the girls are playing ball like they’re best friends,” Bernazzani said.
With Moore, Piccoli and Kremer loading the bases, Kehm stepped up to the plate.
“I had two strikes, both fouls down the third base line,” Kehm said. “I was like, I got to hit this ball.”
Kehm then hit a grand slam over the center field fence.
“Right when I hit it I knew it was gone so I started walking to first,” she said. “It’s such a thrill getting a home run; it really boosts everyone’s attitude.”
Later in the inning, Barnes doubled to score Flores and eventually scored herself on a passed ball. Arthur also walked and scored on a Mordecai ground out, pulling DHS within one run of Grand Junction, 11-10.
The Demons, however, weren’t done. In the third, they added 10 more runs.
Kremer started the inning with a double to the fence. Then, with the bases loaded, Barnes hit a single to bring two of her teammates home. With two outs, Piccoli hit an RBI-triple and Kremer hit an RBI single. Flores then went deep, smacking a three-run home run to put DHS up, 20-11.
In the fifth, Kremer hit a triple over the outfielders’ heads, Kehm doubled Kremer home, and Barns hit an RBI single to score Kehm for the walk-off win, 22-12.
Kehm also pitched from the second inning on, only giving up five hits to get her second win on the day. She struck out six batters in six innings over the two games.
“Teagan had a great day pitching,” Bernazzani said. “She’s a well-rounded player and a fine tool player.”
The Demons have now won six straight and sit at 10-3 overall and 3-1 in the 5A/4A Southwestern League. Junction slipped to 2-9, 0-3.
“It’s really fun, especially my senior year,“ Piccoli said. ”We’re just playing hard every game and cherishing the moments.“
Next, DHS will travel to the Front Range for a pair of non-conference games on Saturday. DHS will play Thomas Jefferson (3-7) at 8:30 a.m., and Silver Creek (4-8) at 10:30 am.
Durango will try and take the same strategy into those games.
“We’re going in with an open mind and not assuming anything,” Piccoli said.