Cedaredge and Delta 18U baseball teams competed in a weekend tournament to provide playing-time experience for returning athletes from both schools. According to Delta High School baseball coach Steve Reiher the summer season generates a compliment of full-season games for the Panthers and Bruins.
High temperatures and sunny skies were the norm for play on baseball fields at Delta Middle School and Delta High School. Joining Delta for tournament play were Cedaredge, Olathe, Hotchkiss and Buena Vista.
Delta finished the weekend tournament with a 4-1 record after suffering its only loss to Buena Vista, 8-5, on Saturday.
The Panthers defeated Olathe 19-1 on Thursday followed by a 14-3 decision over Cedaredge on Friday with a forfeit over Hotchkiss due to a lack of pitchers for the Bulldogs.
Reiher reflected a sense of disappointment with the loss to Buena Vista on Saturday with his team's letdown for a couple of innings. "Yeah, we kind of quit competing a couple of innings in the loss." Continuing on, Reiher noted, "I thought Row (Rowyn Carmichael) pitched really well. We could've stayed with him but he was at 80 pitches and hasn't thrown that many in probably over a year. Plus, I wanted to get (Eli) Farmer and (Sky) Kraai some work."
In Delta's Thursday contest against Olathe, the Panthers scored five times in the first inning with the help of back-to-back triples from Colby Wilson and Nolan Bynum and a double by Carmichael and a single from Andrew Baier.
Another six runs in the second inning were aided by another four-hit attack from the Panthers.
Bynum, with three strike outs in the first two innings, held the Pirates in check after an opening inning score, and Delta rolled into the third inning with a commanding 10-0 lead before finishing with the 19-1 victory in five innings.
In a Thursday afternoon battle against Cedaredge, Ryan Cooper started on the mound for Delta and went three innings giving up just two runs on five hits (with three back-to-back singles in the first inning without a run).
The Panthers scored three times in the first inning and jumped to a 6-0 lead in the second on a three-run bomb from Carmichael. Delta added four more runs and a 10-0 lead heading to the third frame.
An Isaac Blair double in the third inning scored two Bruin runs before Cooper recorded his seventh strike out of the game to retire the side. Kraai replaced Cooper on the mound in the fourth inning and finished the game.
Dusty Emig had the start for Cedaredge and was replaced by Simon Varela in the second inning.
The importance of summer ball is paramount for both the Panthers and Bruins. "Summer ball is huge for us," commented Reiher. "This is where we develop our pitching and hitting. We see a lot of good arms throughout the summer. We play a full high school season-plus in the month of June. It is a grind but you have to be able to focus during a six or seven-game stretch during the high school season and I feel that prepares us. Also, playing Montrose, Fruita and Central, as well as some of our league opponents, is a good healthy balance."
For the Bruins, in addition to the game against Delta, Cedaredge defeated Olathe (19-11) and swamped Buena Vista 14-2.
Against Olathe, acting Bruins' coach Randy Brown highlighted the play of Jared Reynolds who pitched four and two-thirds innings and gave up four hits and three earned runs.
Conner Brooks was solid at the plate with a three-for-four day, including a double and a three-run home run. Emig also had three hits for the Bruins (two doubles and a triple) and Jacob Brown was perfect at the plate with four hits, including two doubles, and four RBIs.
Leading the charge against Buena Vista were Trey Geyer with six innings of work on the mound, two earned runs and eight strike outs; Brooks with three hits in four-at-bats with two doubles and four RBIs and Emig with three hits, including a double and a triple.
Coach Brown also offered his take on the weekend tournament. "It was a good weekend for the Bruins (who was filling in for head coach Terry Montoya). Playing games in the summer is a must. Coach Montoya has done a great job of scheduling this summer and if we keep getting better we could make noise next spring. We have about 25 games scheduled. The Delta tournament was great. Good competition that is close to home is always nice. It was two great facilities with great coaches who care about kids. Thanks to Steve Reiher, Dan Cholas and Marty Rover for the chance to play so close to home."