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M-CHS baseball team stays hot with win over Dove Creek

Montezuma-Cortez senior Ernie Padilla prepares to deliver a pitch during his team's 11-3 win over Dove Creek on May 15.
Panthers senior Ernie Padilla stars on the mound as bats come alive during team’s 11-3 victory

During a rocky second inning that saw Montezuma-Cortez High School second baseman Evan LaMunyon commit two errors and Dove Creek High School score two runs, Panthers starting pitcher Ernie Padilla could easily have lost his composure.

The senior hurler did not blink however, and after striking out Dove Creek junior Ryan Jarmon to end the inning, Padilla joined LaMunyon and the rest of his teammates in an all-out blitz of the Bulldogs as M-CHS stormed to an 11-3 victory in the final game of the Cortez Tournament on May 16.

“After a couple of errors, I just forget about it,” Padilla said. “You have to have a five second memory in baseball because the game goes like that. Whenever somebody gets down, our biggest goal is to get them up. If you bring everybody up and you get happy and you have fun, you should have a really good game.”

While Padilla’s ability to maintain his composure early on proved key in the Panthers’ victory, so, too, did the team’s ability to grind out at bats against Dove Creek starting pitcher Kevin Purkat, who pounded the strike zone with hard fastballs and well-placed off-speed pitches.

Down 2-0 in the bottom of the second inning, M-CHS got on the scoreboard when Padilla smacked a hard grounder just inside the third-base line for a two-out double that scored Ty Blackmer and Trinidad McDonell.

An RBI single by Ty Blackmer with two out in the bottom of the third inning put M-CHS ahead 3-2 before the Panthers offense fully broke through in the bottom of the fourth inning when sophomore Jake Blackmer smashed a triple to right field to drive in two runs and give his team a 6-2 lead.

“I just went up there wanting to hit the ball and drive in those two runs that were on second and third base,” Jake Blackmer said. “That pitch, I just swung the bat and hit it to the right side of the field and ended up at third.”

M-CHS senior Ty Blackmer delivers a pitch during the seventh inning of his team's 11-3 win over M-CHS on May 15.

As Padilla continued to sit down Bulldogs batters using well-placed fastballs and knee-buckling curves, M-CHS’s bats continued to thrive as McDonell drilled a run-scoring triple to the center-field wall and freshman Miles Frost grounded an RBI single inside the third-base bag.

Arguably the most impressive hit of the afternoon came courtesy of LaMunyon, who continued his torrid early-season hitting when he smashed a triple to deep right field in a showcase of power that has become his hallmark.

M-CHS senior Ty Blackmer slides headfirst while stealing second base during his team's win over Dove Creek.

Several other Panthers players also contributed offensively, including sophomore Braden Hallman, who hit two doubles and drove in one run, and Ty Blackmer, who hit a double and drove in two runs.

“I think we all go up there with a great mentality to hits the ball and get on base and score runs,” Jake Blackmer said. “We have great hitters up and down our lineup.”

Although highlights proved to be few and far between for Dove Creek, senior Hayden Gray gave his team’s fans plenty to cheer about when he drove a triple to the left-field wall in the second inning. Gray also produced an RBI single for the Bulldogs in the top of the sixth inning.

Now winners of three games straight and owning a 3-3 record overall, M-CHS will look to maintain its momentum when it opens league play with a road doubleheader against Alamosa on May 18.

Dove Creek will look to return to its winning ways when it puts its 1-5 record on the line in a home matchup against Nucla on May 18.

Montezuma-Cortez High School senior Ty Blackmer slides headfirst while stealing second base during his team's win over Dove Creek