RHS wins RBC matchup

Panther head baseball coach Paul Fortunato congratulates senior Tobie Gasper as he rounds third base after hitting a home run to put his team on the scoreboard and start a comeback against Meeker. Rangely won the game 11-3 and will play Dolores on Friday at 8:30 a.m. in Delta.
Panther head baseball coach Paul Fortunato congratulates senior Tobie Gasper as he rounds third base after hitting a home run to put his team on the scoreboard and start a comeback against Meeker. Rangely won the game 11-3 and will play Dolores on Friday at 8:30 a.m. in Delta.
RANGELY I The two Rio Blanco County baseball teams played two doubleheaders during the regular season and played a single elimination game Saturday to determine which team would advance in the district tournament.
Rangely defeated Meeker in three of the four games in the regular season and the Panthers ended the season for the Cowboys with an 11-3 victory in Rangely.
“Saturday was a game played like I thought we would have played all season long,” Panther head coach Paul Fortunato said. “We played solid defense with minimal mistakes and came up with some timely hits, boosted by Tobie Gasper’s home run in the fourth.”
Rangely sophomore Josh Bolding started on the mound for the Panthers against Meeker senior Alex Smith. Neither team got on the scoreboard until the Cowboys scored three in the fourth.
“We fell behind early and Meeker was hitting the ball well, but Josh bore down and was able to quiet their bats as we came alive offensively,” Fortunato said. “It was a great team effort and a good game.
After Meeker took a 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth, senior Tobie Gasper was the first Panther batter to the plate in the bottom of the inning. He took one of Smith’s pitches over the left-center field fence for the only run of the inning for the Panthers, but it signaled the start of their comeback.
The Cowboys would not score again, but the Panthers added 10 more runs in the next two innings, six in the fifth and four more in the sixth to put the game away.
“We needed to have a solid game going into districts this weekend,” Fortunato said of his team’s effort.
The Panthers will play the Dolores Bears, the No. 2 seed from the San Juan League in an early game Friday at 8:30 a.m., in Delta. The winner will play the Paonia Eagles in the semifinals.
“We have to win two to advance to the regional tournament, but I feel we are just scrappy enough this time to do so,” Fortunato said of his team, which finished the regular season with a 6-14 overall record. “Our record does not show how good we really are. The guys are just now starting to come together, and going into districts, records mean nothing.”