Cowboys host county rival, lose to Paonia

The Rangely Panthers and Meeker Cowboys finished out their baseball seasons last weekend. Rangely lost to Meeker 15-5 in the opening game of the CHSAA 2A District title. The Cowboys went on to play against Paonia in Olathe, where they lost 0-10 in an emotional last game. TIFFANY JEHOREK PHOTOS

By TIFFANY JEHOREK
Special to the Herald Times
MEEKER | The Meeker Cowboys baseball team hosted Rangely Thursday, May 9 in non-league play. Meeker, ranked third, dominated the game, with a decisive 15-5 victory over the Panthers, ranked sixth. This was the opening game in the Colorado High School Activities Association 2A District 3/5. The win against Rangely allowed the Cowboys to move on to Olathe, Colo., for the remainder of the tournament.
Garrett Frantz took the mound to open the game, with Luis Villalpando behind the plate for 2.2 innings, allowing nine hits and five runs, all earned. Freshman Josh Murphy closed the game pitching to Tanner Ridgeway and secured the win allowing one hit and no runs. Logan Hughes, Trapper Merrifield and Doak Mantle led the Cowboys in scoring each earning three runs. Villalpando scored two runs and batted in four. Jose Garcia, Uri Goedert, Jacob Pelloni and Cooper Meszaros each scored one run. The point spread by the bottom of the third gave the seven seniors a kind of “out with the old and in with the new send off,” said coach Brian Merrifield. The large lead allowed for the younger nine players to get some time on the field, and hold the lead to win in five innings. “It was a pretty emotional game and they didn’t disappoint, playing great baseball for the hometown crowd,” commented Merrifield.
The win against Rangely and the tournament ranking meant that Saturday, May 12 Meeker matched up against number four Paonia at 12 p.m. in Olathe, Colo. This was the final game Meeker would see for the year, ending the high school baseball career for seven seniors. “It was another great game that just didn’t go our way,” said Merrifield, “the boys played their best as they always have since T-ball.” The neutral game against the Paonia Eagles ended with a score of 0-10 at the bottom of the fifth. This was the third meeting of the Eagles and the Cowboys, and third loss for the Cowboys.
Pitching for the Cowboys were seniors Goedert and Hughes, freshman Murphy, and junior Tristan Wille. Trapper Merrifield had his 30th stolen base on the year. The Cowboys are losing seven very experienced seniors who have played together for more than a decade. Seniors Frantz, Goedert, Hughes, Mantle, Merrifield, Meszaros and Pelloni held a wide variety of positions across the field. The Cowboys will be looking to fill these positions next year with a bench that has depth and experience. Merrifield commented that “It will be tough come next spring without these guys round but we have a great group of ball players ready to take the field and represent MHS.”
The Cowboys have three players selected to all-conference team and one to the honorable mention team; they will learn who these players are next week at the team picnic.

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