M-CHS Softball Pass Meeker To Win Game 2
CORTEZ – As dreams of a 3A Western Slope League title fade away, a seasoned Panthers team staged one of their biggest rallies of the season.
Trailing 7-6 in five innings on Saturday against Meeker, the Panthers found some big hits in the final two innings to turn the tide, winning the contest, 10-9, in a double-face. Cowboys.
Meeker picked up an 11-8 victory in Game 1, fending off a charge from Panther late in the inning.
M-CHS (15-5, 9-1 3A WSL) turned to their upper class students to help them bounce back from the disappointment of Game 1. Having already secured their fourth consecutive winning season, the seniors who have been part of the program during this streak want to add a league title to their final year.
“It seems like we (the senior class) have been playing together our entire lives,” said Koral Jackson senior, “and we wanted to make this our best year.”
Senior second baseman Hailey Veach knocked the Panthers out in Game 2, scoring a two-RBI in the first inning to help the Panthers take a 4-0 lead.
“We were more confident in Game 2,” said elder Taiah Wilson of her team’s response in Game 2. “We talked more and had a lot more positivity. “
M-CHS beat in the inning and would add two more in the first half of the second as classmates Brianna Comisky and Taiah Wilson would reach to start the inning, followed by a single by junior Rylee Hickman and the third RBI of the game for Veach.
Led 6-2, Meeker (9-10, 9-1 3A WSL) would retaliate, however, with one point in third and four points in fourth to take their first lead of the game.
Taking the consistent approach of their head coach, Anthony “Hippo” Frost, the Panthers didn’t seem fazed by the deficit. “He (Coach Frost) trusts us so much,” said Veach, “and he makes sure we believe in ourselves.”
After trading zeros in the fifth inning, the Panthers faced their last six strikeouts requiring a rally. Junior Lizzie Likes led the sixth round with a single, followed by Comisky producing the same.
Wilson then looped a single over the first baseman’s head to lead into Likes to tie the game, before Veach crossed his fourth RBI via a sacrifice fly.
“We’ve become a batting team,” Veach said of his team’s biggest improvement this season, “we’ve been in the batting cages since the winter, and it paid off for us.”
In the seventh inning, the Panthers added some confidence, as freshmen Neveah Istenes opened the inning with a single. His classmate Emily Carver would board on a fielder’s pick, before left-fielder Koral Jackson pushes a ball into right field to give the Panthers runners second and third.
A wild throw would score Carver, before Comisky tackled another run with an RBI to lead to Jackson.
The Panthers would need all their confidence, as Meeker would bring home the equalizer in the lower half of the inning, before Wilson induces three straight strikeouts, all recorded by Comisky at third base, to shut down the Cowboys.
“I threw a lot of different throws,” Wilson said of her ability to collect big outs on the home stretch, “and Emily (Carver) was claiming throws that she thought would work, so together we worked well as a team. “
Veach scored two more RBIs in the opening loss, while Hickman added two runs and a triple RBI.
“Each year we got better,” said Veach, “and that gave us the opportunity to be able to set some of the lofty goals that we set for ourselves.”
“We’ve made a name for ourselves over the past four years,” added Jackson of a group that had one of their most successful times in program history.
“It’s a family we’ve built over the time we’ve spent together,” added Hickman, “and it has been an honor to play with this group of seniors.”
The Panthers celebrate Seniors Day on Saturday, October 9 at Englehart Field with a decisive doubles program against the Cedaredge Bruins. A sweep would guarantee M-CHS at least a share of the league title, as they are also fighting for the regional rankings.