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Montezuma-Cortez baseball learns regional route

Montezuma-Cortez baseball looks to continue their hot streak in to the 3A Region 5 tournament this weekend, with hopes of a return trip to the state championship tournament. Ben Bradley/Special to The Journal
Panthers head to New Castle for opening rounds

Hot off their second straight IML title, the M-CHS baseball team is catching fire at the right time and primed for a postseason run.

Winners of seven straight and 10 of their last 11, the Panthers flew up the CHSAA rankings in their final month, entering postseason play as the No. 12 seed in the 3A classification. Their path back to the state tournament takes them to the Region 5 tournament, hosted by No. 5 seed Coal Ridge this Saturday, May 18.

The Panthers (15-8) will play No. 21 seed Valley (12-11) in the opening round at 12:30 p.m., with the winner moving on to face either the host Titans or No. 28 seed Pagosa Springs in the regional championship game.

On offense, the Panthers came to life down the stretch, scoring double figure runs in six of their final seven outings, including their Senior Day victory over Durango on Tuesday, 10-8. Their team .373 batting average will put any pitching staff to the test in their regional contests, while a variety of pitchers have filled in their roles to lower the staff ERA to under 4.50.

M-CHS hopes to have all pistons firing to get past the Vikings, with the hopes of a rematch against a familiar foe – either a Coal Ridge team (21-2) that M-CHS defeated in last year’s state tournament or a Pirate squad (11-10) that the Panthers swept in IML play.

The regional final is slated for approximately 3 p.m., with the winner advancing to the eight-team double elimination state tournament in Greeley over the weekends of May 24-25 and May 31-June 1.