Middle Park baseball builds experience with gritty win
Middle Park baseball started off its week on the right cleat, racing out to an early lead Monday at home vs. Sheridan before the game got interesting.
After building a nice lead, Middle Park fans watched as Sheridan battled back to narrow the Panthers’ advantage to just a couple runs in the top of the fifth inning. However, Middle Park responded with a run — or six runs — of its own in the bottom of the inning.
With sophomore Corbin Solomon’s RBI double, the 10-run mercy rule was invoked in the bottom of the sixth, and Middle Park walked off the diamond with a 17-7 win.
“It’s really big for us,” coach Patrick Gallegos said of team’s composure during the victory. “We are a young club and those are games that can leak away from us. We’re really happy as a coaching staff that (the team) handled it, came back fighting and put runs across. We struggled early — left a lot of runners on base early — so it was nice to see at the end of the game where we were clearing our bags and taking care of things.”
The result was a “good mental win” against a solid league opponent, Gallegos continued, adding that it comes at a great time with Middle Park heading into the teeth of its 2021 schedule.
“We have a lot of league games right here in a row, so we’re trying to push through those and happy to get a good win here at home,” Gallegos said.
The Panthers’ record improves to 4-0 in the Class 3A Frontier League and 5-3 overall.
Against Sheridan, Solomon went 3-for-5 at the plate with 4 RBI and two runs scored. Afterward, Gallegos commended the sophomore, saying that “he has really been seeing the ball well” lately and been delivering a lot of RBIs for the Panthers.
Also, Forest Schofield recorded a big hit during the Panthers’ fifth inning on Monday. In the game, Schofield went 3-for-4 with three runs and 2 RBI. Senior Alex Holinka (1 run, 3 RBI), Jack Nance (2 runs, 2 steals, 2 RBI) and V Laynes Calderon (2 runs, 3 steals) also recorded three hits each in the contest.
Middle Park goes on the road today to play Jefferson and will be at home Friday vs. Battle Mountain. Battle Mountain is a Class 4A team that should make for a strong opponent. Additionally, the hardest part of Panthers’ league schedule is yet to come with teams like Bennett and The Academy still on the horizon.
“I keep telling these guys, ‘All of our games from this point forward are getting more difficult with a lot of gritty teams that are not going to go away,’” Gallegos said. “We’re going to have to grind them out if we’re going to get our wins, so it was really good to see them get that (on Monday).”
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Mike Montgomery and By Hanson won division championships in the annual Cabin Fever Golf Fever tournament on June 2, opening the season at the Grand Lake Golf Course.