A couple of two-out rallies helped the Durango High School baseball team come back from a three-run deficit and beat the Delta Panthers 11-7 on Saturday at DHS.
“That was a huge win,” said DHS senior Chance Costa. “In my book, it was a must-win for our confidence and everything.”
The Demons, however, got off to a shaky start before eventually settling in.
“We kicked a few balls early, but the best part is we turned around and corrected it,” said DHS head coach Rob Coddington.
The fourth inning proved to be decisive. Delta scored two in the top of the inning to extend its lead to 7-4, then got the first Durango batters to strike out in the bottom of the frame. Michael Benner, however, ripped a line drive into center field in Durango’s next at bat. Delta’s center fielder dove for the ball, but came up empty and Benner ended up with a triple. Gavin Hamlin singled in Benner. Brady Hansen and Jack Englund then drew walks to load the bases for AJ Folk. Delta switched pitchers, but it didn’t matter. Folk hit a 2-RBI single into right to tie the game. Lane Greenlee then hit an RBI single to score Folk and give DHS an 8-7 lead.
Costa, who relieved Bardin after the third inning, got three fly outs in the fifth and two ground outs and a strikeout in the sixth. “I settled in and found what was working,” Costa said.
DHS added to its lead in the bottom of the sixth, again with two outs. With Englund on third and Greenlee on second, Bardin hit a 2-RBI single through the infield. Bardin then stole second, stole third and, when the throw to third went into foul territory, scored.
“We were aggressive today,” Coddington said. “We stole a lot, manufactured some runs with our speed and also got some timely hits.”
Delta’s first two runners reached in the seventh, but Costa struck the next batter out. He then got the next two batters to ground out to Benner at second base to end the game with DHS on top.
“That last inning was one of the best innings I’ve ever felt,” Costa said after the win.
He also said his team’s mentality is different this year in how they respond to adversity.
“Last year we tended to be scared (after an error),” Costa said. “This year we want to make the next play and make up for it. It’s all about the mindset and believing. We are a good baseball team, we just have to believe it.”
That mind set certainly helped the team on Saturday.
Delta got one hit in the top of the first, but scored a pair of runs with the help of two DHS errors.
The Demons answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning. Benner and Hamlin both singled to start the inning and then Brady Hansen reached on an error to load the bases.
Jack Englund hit a sacrifice fly to right field to bring Benner home. AJ Folk then hit an RBI single to score Hamlin and tie the game 2-2. Hansen eventually scored on a passed ball and Folk came home on a wild pitch to put DHS up, 4-2.
Bardin struck out two in the second while Folk chased down a line drive in left field for an out.
DHS almost extended its lead in the bottom of the second, with Benner reaching third and Hamlin on second with one out. Two strikeouts, however, ended the threat.
Delta then took the lead back in the third. After Bardin struck out one Panther, Delta hit a single, reached on an dropped pop up and then two Panthers got hit by pitches to score a run. With the bases loaded, Bardin nearly got out of the inning. Delta hit a grounder to third and DHS threw to second, but the ball was dropped and two runs scored on the play.
DHS, however, made its move in the fourth.
Durango improved to 5-3 overall with the win while Delta slipped to 3-3. Next, DHS will head to New Mexico to take on Farmington (6-6) at 4 p.m. Tuesday.