With two programs coming in with a combined 17 straight wins between the two of them, when Montezuma-Cortez and Dove Creek collided Saturday at the Soper Sports Complex, there were sure to be offensive fireworks.
The Panthers (15-3, 4-0 3A IML) more than held up their end of the bargain, smashing 22 hits in a mercy-rule shortened affair, wrapping up a torrid month of April with a 27-1 victory over Dove Creek, capping the Bulldogs’ regular season with a 10-7 mark and ending their nine-game winning streak.
Panthers hurler Evan LaMunyon kept the vaunted Dove Creek offense at bay, fanning 10 Bulldogs while limiting the hosts to a lone hit, a single by junior Taber Dejane.
Meanwhile, the M-CHS offense poured on a relentless attack from all over the order, as seven Panthers finished with multiple RBIs and 12 different players crossed home plate for head coach Tim Passell’s group.
The Panthers were led by a five-hit day for freshman Cory Carver, while senior Jake Blackmer pounded four. All told, M-CHS finished with 12 extra-base hits, led by home runs from Carver, LaMunyon and senior catcher Braden Hallman.
Sophomore Kolby Wirth drove in a pair of runs, and classmate Bobby Likes scored four runs, while 17 Panthers saw action either in the field or at the plate in the win.
M-CHS scored four times in the first inning, before erupting for 12 in the second. The visitors added eight in the fourth inning before Dove Creek scratched across their lone run in the bottom half of the inning.
With the win, M-CHS takes over the honor of longest winning streak on the Western Slope, and the Panthers can refocus their energy on battling for a league title. With two league weekends remaining M-CHS remains locked up with Bayfield at the top of the standings, as the Wolverines own a 13-3 record and both teams sporting a perfect 4-0 mark in Intermountain League action.
M-CHS will make a trip to La Jara to face Centauri (8-11, 0-6 3A IML) on Friday, May 5, for a doubleheader that is slated to begin at 11 a.m. Bayfield will take on Pagosa Springs (8-11, 2-4 3A IML) the same weekend – with the potential for a winner-take-all showdown at Parque de Vida on Saturday, May 13, in the works.
Dove Creek now prepares for their district play this weekend, with hopes to advance to regional and state play in the 1A bracket.