RANGELY | The Rangely Panthers High School baseball team played three games last week (April 1-6) against non-league Grand Valley High School and the first Western Slope league match with powerhouse Hotchkiss. In the first match of the week the Panthers traveled to Parachute to take on a familiar foe in the Grand Valley Cardinals. The Cardinals had yet to play a game on the season due to weather and this was the Panthers fifth and sixth games of the season.
The first game showed the Panther bats to be as cold as the weather. The Cardinals jumped out to a 6-1 lead after three innings of the game. Senior pitcher Drew Brannan was able to settle into the game after a rough start, but holes in the Panther defense allowed the Cardinals to plate six runs in the first three innings. Coming into the top of the seventh inning the Panthers found themselves down 10-3. The Panthers plated four runs in the top of the seventh to bring the game to a 10-7 score, but a strikeout with the bases loaded stopped the Panthers’ comeback bid. Offensively the Panthers were led by seniors Tristan Moore and Drew Brannan who recorded multiple hits in the game and scored three of the seven runs for the Panthers. Junior Dylan LeBleu also went two-for-three at the plate. The second game of the double header was called in the bottom of the second due to rain with the Panthers having a 1-0 lead.
On Saturday, April 6 the Hotchkiss Bulldogs traveled to Rangely for the first two home games of the season. Junior Dylan LeBleu toed the rubber for the Panthers and surrendered four unearned runs with a couple of walks. The Panthers were down 4-0 in the first two innings. The Bulldogs added on three more runs in the top of the fourth inning bringing the score to 7-0 in favor of the Bulldogs. The Panther bats heated up in the bottom of the fifth inning when senior Drew Brannan plated two runs in with a single to left field. The Panthers were able to tack on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning when senior Tristan Moore homered to left field scoring freshman Keihlin Myers. Going into the top of the seventh inning, the Panthers were down 8-5. The Bulldogs added three runs bringing the score to 11-5. Another rally effort came up short for the Panthers as they were only able to score one run in the bottom of the seventh inning and fell to the Bulldogs 11-6. Junior Dylan LeBleu took the loss on the mound as he went five innings while giving up seven runs while walking four and striking out 8. This performance gave LeBleu 32 strikeouts in 16 innings of work.
In the second game of the doubleheader against the Bulldogs the Panther bats were silent for the five innings as they fell 12-2 in five innings to the Bulldogs. Freshman Keihlin Myers took the mound for the Panthers and was not able to keep the Bulldog bats down, surrendering nine runs in the first two innings. Senior Stetson Cudo came in for two innings of relief pitching and slowed the Bulldog bats while only giving up two runs. Sophomore Anthony Lujan came to the mound in the top of the fifth inning and worked well for one inning as he only gave up one run. Offensively the Panthers were led by sophomore Austin Davis as he went 1-2 with a walk for the game and one run scored. Junior Dylan LeBleu was the only other Panther to record a hit in the second game besides Davis as LeBleu went 1-3 on the day. The Panthers will travel to Paonia to continue league play against the Eagles on Friday, April 12 starting at 2 and 4 p.m. at Volunteer Park.
Special to the Herald Times