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Photo courtesy Andy Bockelman Delta’s Josh Reeder slides safely into third base as the ball comes into view in the upper right hand corner. The Panthers, playing a make-up game on April 23 in Craig, defeated the Bulldogs 16-2.
Photo by Wayne Crick Delta junior Andrew Baier slides into second after completing a delayed steal attempt during last week’s 10-0 victory over second-place Aspen in Delta. The Panthers scored five runs in the first inning and never looked back. Delta’s win clinched the 3A WSL league title and marks the third straight time for the accomplishment.

Delta clinches 3A WSL

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The Delta Panthers played in three games this past week and won all three to move to 8-0 in 3A WSL play and 12-6 overall. More importantly the Panthers won their third straight league title with their 10-0 win over Aspen on Friday of last week.

Weather conditions for the past week were more accommodating than in previous weeks. Last week's Moffat County contest had been scheduled for April 21 but had to be moved due to inclement weather in Craig. That game was played on Monday, April 23, with Delta coming home with a 16-2 victory.

Delta traveled to Basalt on April 25 and defeated the Longhorns 14-3 then hosted Aspen on Friday to complete a three-win week.

Delta 16, Bulldogs 2

The Panthers were relentless on offense against Moffat County on Monday. Delta posted a single run in the first inning and followed with two runs in each of the next two innings for a 5-0 lead heading to the fourth inning.

Delta broke its two-run string of scoring with three runs in the fourth inning for an 8-0 lead with the Bulldogs coming to bat. Moffat County scored its two runs in the bottom half of the fourth to trail by six to begin the fifth inning.

Delta's offense exploded for eight runs in the top of the fifth and subdued the Bulldogs' offense in the bottom of the inning to post a 16-2 win.

Kolby Keller highlighted Delta's win with a two-for-four day which included a home run and three RBIs. Nolan Bynum was one-for-five with three RBIs and Trevor Myers had two RBIs on a two-for-four day at the plate.

Drake Horn picked up his third win of the season after working four innings and giving up six hits and two runs while striking out seven Bulldog batters.

Moffat County's Jefferson Piatt had two hits, including a double, and scored one of the Bulldogs' two runs.

Delta 14, Basalt 3

The Panthers scored early and often to win their second five-inning contest of the week against the host Longhorns.

Delta scored twice in the first and second innings then raced around the base paths for seven runs in the third frame for an 11-0 advantage.

Scoring slacked off for the Panthers in the fourth inning with a single Delta run and a 12-0 lead. The visiting Panthers completed their scoring for the game with two runs in the top of the fifth.

Basalt found some of its offense in the bottom of the fifth and managed to score three runs before the game ended due to the 10-run rule.

Jaspar Carmichael helped power the Panthers to a win with a monster day at the plate. He had just two hits, a triple and a home run, but he scored three times and generated five RBIs for the winners.

Dylan Hollenbeck, Trevor Myers and Josh Reeder each had one hit apiece which produced a pair of RBIs for each of them. Myers' hit was a double.

Thomas Wirth did most of Basalt's offensive damage with a run scored and an RBI off a double.

Hollenbeck earned his fourth win of the season against one loss with four and a third innings of work which included one hit, three runs and 10 strike outs.

Delta 10, Aspen 0

With the knowledge that a win would mean a league title, the Panthers went to work early and tallied five runs in the first inning against the Skiers.

Aspen pitcher Jamison Fuentes started the game with a walk to Jaspar Carmichael and gave up a double to Nolan Bynum to score Carmichael. Josh Reeder reached base on a single to right field and scored Bynum.

Hollenbeck, the clean-up hitter for the Panthers, was walked giving the Panthers runners at first and third.

Aspen made a pitching change (Miles McConnell for Fuentes) before Delta's next batter, Trevor Myers, came to the plate.

Myers laced a triple to left field to score both Reeder and Hollenbeck to make the score 4-0. A wild pitch from McConnell allowed Myers to score Delta's fifth run of the inning.

Hollenbeck struck out the side in the top of the second inning and the Panthers tacked on a singleton after Carmichael smacked a double to center field and then scored off an error on Bynum's bullet line drive off the glove of Aspen's left fielder.

Delta took a 6-0 lead to the fourth inning and added another singleton on Reeder's double to score Bynum who had reached base on an infield hit.

Two more runs in the fifth came on a double from Carmichael to score Matt Easter and a sacrifice fly from Bynum to score KC Carlson.

Delta scored the game-ending run on a bases loaded play where Matt Easter was hit by a pitched ball to score John Holgate who had come into the game for Myers who had hit a double earlier in the inning.

The Panthers have had good success over the years with over seven straight years in post-season play.

When asked what the key(s) to last week's game against Aspen was, Delta coach Steve Reiher had this response. "I think our key was the attitude we took towards the game. We talked the night before at practice and I told them (Delta players) that we've been in this spot before. Two years ago we had to beat Palisade at Suplizio Field then win two at Rifle to be league champs. Last year we had to go into Gunnison and win. I told them Aspen has been in this spot so we have an advantage. My message was to come out swinging and get them on their heels, and I think we did just that."

Players who had impact games included Nolan Bynum and Trevor Myers noted Reiher.

"They swung it well for us."

Delta ends its regular season on May 5 at Grand Valley with an 11 a.m. starting time.

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