RANGELY | The Rangely Panthers baseball team traveled to Aspen on April 12 to take on the Skiers in a non-league match-up. The Panthers came out early in the game and played great defense behind a stellar outing on the mound for junior Tristan Moore, but the Skiers were able to manufacture runs and won the game 14-4.
On Friday, April 13, the Panthers traveled to Norwood to take on the Dove Creek Bulldogs. Drew Brannan toed the rubber for the Panthers for four innings and allowed seven runs for the hot-hitting Bulldogs. In the top of the sixth inning the Panthers warmed up a little as the sun began to peak through the clouds. The Panthers scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning making the score 9-4 in favor of the Bulldogs. The Panthers were led offensively by freshman Ryan Richens who collected two hits and two RBI’s in the game. Another freshman, Austin Davis, drove in two runs on a double later in the sixth inning. Sophmore Dylan LeBleu, juniors Tristan Moore and Stetson Cudo also helped the Panther offense with one hit each. The Panthers fell to the Bulldogs 14-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning.
After completing the game against Dove Creek the Panthers took on the defending 1A State Champion Nucla Mustangs. LeBleu took the mound for the Panthers and pitched a stellar game, only giving up three runs on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks. The Panther bats also came alive against the Mustangs as they jumped out to a 1-0 lead after the first inning. Junior Tristan Moore reached base safely on a seeing-eye single and was scored by Dylan LeBleu as LeBleu laid down a perfect bunt to advance Moore who scored on two throwing errors by the Mustangs. The Mustangs came back and took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Not to be outdone the Panthers scored two runs in the top of the third inning to take back the lead 3-2. The game stayed stagnant in scoring as the two pitchers settled in a found a groove. The Panthers scored another run in the top of the seventh inning making the score 5-3 in favor of the Panthers, heading into the bottom half of the last inning. LeBleu threw six strong innings for the Panthers and gave way to Brannan for a one-inning save. Brannan got the first batter to line out to LeBleu at shortstop for the first out. The Mustangs were able to score a run in the bottom half of the inning to make the game very interesting for both sides as you could feel with pressure of the Mustangs trying to come back and win the game and the Panthers trying to close out their first win of the season. Brannan got the next batter to hit into a fielder’s choice at shortstop as the Panthers were able to keep the 5-4 lead. The last batter for the Mustangs again grounded to shortstop and LeBleu was able to make the close play at first securing the win for the Panthers. Junior Stetson Cudo also added to the defensive game for the Panthers as he threw out two runners at second base attempting to steal the base.
The Panthers will stay on the road during the upcoming week as they travel to Meeker to take on the Cowboys in a non-league matchup at 2 and 4 p.m. and then travel to Hotchkiss on Saturday, April 21 to take on the fourth-ranked Bulldogs. The Panthers will host Meeker in the league match-up in Rangely on Saturday, April 28 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Field of Dreams.