DEL NORTE — In the shadow of the new school construction Del Norte and Sierra Grande duked out a sand blasted non-district game. Del Norte baseball took down the visiting Panthers by a score of 15-4 in a game that was cut down to four and a half innings.
The home opener for Del Norte (1-7) was a success as the Tigers were able to capture their first win of the season. Doubleheaders against Montezuma-Cortez and Trinidad stacked four notches in the loss column followed swiftly with decisions going to Cotopaxi and Custer County.
Sierra Grande (2-4) opened the season with two forfeit wins over Cripple Creek-Victor. Since then they dropped a league double-header to Antonito and forfeited to Dove Creek two days later.
Sierra Grande would get on the board immediately in the first inning. Keaton Fischer batted in Marcos Martinez-Martinez. Dylan Milner scored the second run of the inning for the Panthers getting home on a wild pitch.
Brennan Velasquez brought the energy for the Tigers at the bottom of the inning. Velasquez took advantage of a wild fourth ball to advance to second base on a walk. The Del Norte freshman kept up his aggressive ways stealing third and home for Del Norte’s first score. Joel Rosales and Garrett Mondragon would also collect walks to get on base. Rosales would advance himself around the diamond on wild pitches before Mondragon would attempt a steal at second base thus getting Rosales home on the throw to tie the game at two runs each.
Del Norte’s Garret Mondragon would preside over a scoreless second inning from the Panthers picking up one of his seven strikeouts in the inning. The Tigers would rack up the runs in the bottom of the inning with three runners getting home on wild pitches and a fourth utilizing an error to score. When the dust settled Del Norte had opened up a 6-2 lead.
At the top of the next inning Sierra Grande would close the distance. Blanca Cadenas would score teammate Fischer on a base knock. Fischer was followed by Veronica Durgan who advanced home on a wild pitch to close the distance to just two runs.
The floodgates were open for Del Norte however. The Tigers got their aluminum ringing in the third inning. Blake Cestone and Diego Heredia would get home on errors to start the scoring. A base hit from Brennan Velasquez would score Yesenia Rosales to make it 9-4. Sierra Grande would pick off Velasquez using a little trickery when the ball never returned to the pitcher. Joel Rosales would bat a runner in before stealing second base bringing Mondragon to bat. Mondragon would send a ball to the outfield for what looked like a double before an error turned it into an in-park homerun scoring himself and Joel Rosales. With the third out the Tigers would open the fourth inning with a 12-4 lead.
A pick off at second base and two more strikeouts tallied to Mondragon sent the game to the bottom of the inning where the Tigers would continue to score. Del Norte’s Preston Haynie got on base with a single getting to second with an error. Haynie was further advanced to third base thanks to a sacrifice bunt from teammate Blake Cestone. Yesenia Rosales would bat in Haynie to tack on one followed by Joel Rosales batting in Brennan Velasquez in a three run inning making it 15-4.
With an eleven run lead, a sharp and concise three out opening to the fifth inning from the Tigers granted a home opening win in four and a half innings.
Del Norte will go back to the grind for a district double header on the road against rival Sargent (3-3) on Saturday. Game one is scheduled for an 11 a.m. start. Sierra Grande will head to Manzanola (2-6) for a Friday doubleheader starting at 11 a.m.