Meeker Cowboys come out on top of RBC rivalry

Meeker’s Bruno Juarez jumps on junior Matt Frantz, who was the starting and winning pitcher for the Cowboys, with nine strikeouts against the Rangely Panthers. It was the Cowboys’ first and only league win this season, a pigtail game that will advance them to the district tournament to play Dolores on Friday in Cortez.

Meeker’s Bruno Juarez jumps on junior Matt Frantz, who was the starting and winning pitcher for the Cowboys, with nine strikeouts against the Rangely Panthers. It was the Cowboys’ first and only league win this season, a pigtail game that will advance them to the district tournament to play Dolores on Friday in Cortez.
Meeker’s Bruno Juarez jumps on junior Matt Frantz, who was the starting and winning pitcher for the Cowboys, with nine strikeouts against the Rangely Panthers. It was the Cowboys’ first and only league win this season, a pigtail game that will advance them to the district tournament to play Dolores on Friday in Cortez.
RBC I The Meeker High School baseball team finished the regular season with a 0-12 league record, and the Rangely High School team finished with a 4-8 league record, its four wins coming from beating its Rio Blanco County rival in two doubleheaders.
Hotchkiss won the Northwest League, and Paonia finished second, advancing both teams to the district tournament in Cortez starting Friday, so a pigtail game was needed between the two Rio Blanco County teams to determine which team would advance. The game was played in Rangely on Tuesday and the Cowboys took an early lead and won the game 11-5 to advance into postseason play, for the first time in several years.
“This is a little emotional,” Meeker head coach Jason Browning said, standing alone near the third base coaching box after talking to his team following the win. “We haven’t played in the district tournament in six years.”
The Cowboys scored first in the top of the first inning, then Rangely tied the game in the bottom and the score remained 1-1 until the third inning, when Meeker started hitting.
The Cowboys scored five runs in the third off hits from Chevy Mohr, Matt Frantz, Tanner Matriciano, Hunter Garcia, Dylan Mobley and Kenny Kohls. The Cowboys scored two more in the fifth with RBI from Jake Smith and Mohr and a hit by Bruno ??
“We started well instead of trying to come from behind,” Browning said of his team’s play.
Rangely’s Kelton Elam batted a run in, in the bottom of the fifth with a double, and Kaulan Brady, who pitched for the Panthers, batted Elam in to end the inning, down 8-3.
Garcia and Mobley got on base in the top of the sixth, and Frantz batted them in with two outs to help increase his team’s lead to 10-3, with the Panthers having two more chances at the plate.
Frantz not only helped his team win with timely hits, he was also the Cowboys’ starting and winning pitcher, finishing with nine strikeouts, including three in the sixth inning and two in the seventh.
Elam had another RBI and scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the seventh for Rangely’s final points before Frantz ended the game with a strikeout.
“It’s tough,” Coach Browning said, wiping tears from his cheek after looking over at his opponent’s dugout. “We played them tough all year and I kind of feel for them, but we’ll take the win.”
The Cowboys will take the win and play Dolores on Friday at 4:30 p.m. in Cortez.