Log In

Reset Password

Montezuma-Cortez ends historic baseball season with a loss in state tournament

Senior Braden Hallman of Montezuma-Cortez High Scholl hits a double to add to the scoreduring a game in March. (Courtesy Jerry Cohoe)
Delta knocks Panthers out of state tournament

The dream season might have ended a few innings too soon, but when the Montezuma-Cortez baseball team and its 10 seniors look back on the 2023 spring, it’ll be trove of incredible memories from a historic performance.

M-CHS capped an unforgettable season with a loss to Delta in the 3A state tournament’s consolation bracket, but not before the Panthers had placed their body of work among the best seasons in program history.

Five seniors took their final at-bats for the orange-and-black in their 13-3 defeat, as M-CHS finished one win away from making it to the championship weekend over June 2-3 in Greeley.

Instead, a team that endured many delays at the beginning of the season because of snow, then rain and hail battled through countless program bests – including a 22-win plateau and an elusive Intermountain League title.

In their loss the Delta, the Panthers received a curtain call performance from All-Stater Braden Hallman, who drove in two of the three Panthers’ runs.

Delta struck with five runs in the top of the first inning, and kept M-CHS at bay for most of the afternoon to advance in the consolation bracket. They, along with No. 1 Eaton, No. 2 University, and No. 11 Colorado Academy, are still in the hunt for the state title.

M-CHS responded with two runs in the bottom of the first inning, but Delta steadily pulled away with runs in five of the six innings.

For sixth-year head coach Tim Passell, the team’s growth was a perfect storm of developing leadership, an influx of underclassmen talent, and tremendous development in all phases of the game. The Panthers hadn’t enjoyed a winning season in decades, but made that a moot point by midseason, as they developed one of the most feared lineups on the Western Slope, regardless of classification.

All the while, M-CHS played with a fire and enjoyment of the game that made their games must-see entertainment for the community, who turned out in droves to cheer the Panthers to their league and regional titles.

Now, as the Panthers head to the offseason, the bar has been set for the rising leaders of the team, with M-CHS looking to ensure that the 2023 season is a sign of things to come for the future.