Hotchkiss ended the week with an 8-2 record after sweeping a conference doubleheader Saturday against Meeker. The games opened conference play for the Cowboys, who were 6-0 heading into the series. "I knew they'd be tough," said head coach Blake Carlquist. "They're a good ball team. They play defense about as good as anybody around."
In their opening, 11-1 win, the Bulldogs scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth for the win, with Eli Kirk scoring the walk-off run on a passed ball.
Hotchkiss had nine singles and one double for the game. Jonathan Gonzalez was three-for-four and scored two runs in the win, and Presley Penne scored three runs. On the mound, Kirk allowed three hits in six innings and struck out eight batters.
Meeker came back in game two, taking a 3-0 lead with runs in the second, third and fourth innings. In the bottom of the fourth, Hotchkiss scored two runs, with Chase Hiatt hitting a sacrifice fly ball to right field to score Gonzalez and tie the game at 3-3.
Yanish set up the winning run, advancing Colton Deluzio to third on a line drive single. Mario Espinoza drove in the go-ahead run on a hit to right field. "Big knock," said Carlquist of Espinoza's single. "He hit the ball well today."
While the team won the opening game on solid line drive base hits, "I think we hit the ball better in the second game," said Carlquist. The difference was in where they hit, right to the players, with Meeker responding with solid defensive plays. "What I've been telling them is ground balls turn into line drives, and then line drives will eventually turn into your power, your doubles and your gaps. So as long as we can stick to that approach I think we'll get going," said Carlquist.
On the mound, "Our arms did really well for us," said Carlquist. In game two, Kale Litzelman allowed four hits and struck out two in three innings.
Gonzalez pitched the last four innings, allowing seven hits and one run.
Hotchkiss is now 8-2 overall, 4-0 in district play, and will play non-league games against Nucla and Dove Creek Saturday at Cortez.