MPHS Panthers suffer 3-game slide but finish week with big win
Head coach Patrick Gallegos’ Middle Park Panthers started off last week with a first inning home run by James Gallegos against Clear Creek and ended with a Saturday conference victory blow out against The Academy in Westminster.
MPHS lost to Clear Creek (Evergreen) 8-4 as they ran a little wild on defense committing three errors, but did manage eight stolen bases. The offense was cooled off in a breezy effort as Middle Park scored only four runs on five hits. Clear Creek had nine hits and no errors in their win. Turner Bjerken, Sebastian Brower, Ethan Callerman and Gabe Loberg all managed one hit each to go with Gallegos’ first home run of the season. Gallegos also took the loss on the mound, but pitched well.
He allowed just six hits over six innings, struck out eight batters and yielded one walk. “It was a disappointing week of non-conference play. Clear Creek and Moffat came to our field and took advantage of our cold bats,” said Coach Gallegos.
MPHS’s offense stayed cool in Friday’s double header as the varsity team dropped two home games against Moffat County. Losing 7-1 in the first game, Panther bats were led by Vinny Troccoli, Jacob Smith, Bjerken and Gallegos collecting one hit each. Smith took the loss for Middle Park lasting six innings, allowing eight hits and five runs while striking out seven and walking one.
Game two highlights against Moffat include 14 team hits with multiple hits by Brower, Gallegos, Jack Nance and Aiden Roubidoux. Brower led Middle Park with 4 hits in 4 at bats with one double, three singles and three RBI’s. Roubidoux took the loss on the hill lasting one-third inning, allowing one hit and three runs, walking three. Nance also pitched in the 9-4 loss, lasting three and two-thirds innings, striking out four and walking two.Coach Gallegos remarked, “It put us in a tough spot on Saturday against a tough league opponent with our season on the line.”
Defeating The Academy away on Saturday was a well-needed victory for MPHS. Coach Gallegos managed an aggressive squad, coaching a great game while getting his team back in the win column with a 15-4 blow out. Leading the way offensively were Bjerken, Smith and Nance with multiple hits and RBIs each. Other notable RBI’s in a five-run seventh inning were earned by Brower and Stone McGuan. Leading the team in stolen bases was Troccoli with four as the team gathered ten total stolen bases.
On the mound, Ben Kuhnel got the win allowing three hits and four runs over seven innings, striking out eight.
“Ben came to play and dominated a very good hitting team,” Said Gallegos. “The bats came alive and using all methods to manufacture runs, we topped The Academy to keep our post season dreams alive.”
“We have a lot of work to do in the next seven days with two league home games against Kipp (5/8) and DSST (5/13) and three non-conference home games against Aspen-double header on Thursday, May 9 and Rifle on Saturday, May 11,” Gallegos said.
“We are happy to have our post season fate in our own hands,” Gallegos said. “We will need to lean on a strong pitching staff and hope the bats can stay hot.”
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