The baseball team from Hotchkiss High School is in a groove.
The Bulldogs swept a doubleheader from Meeker last Friday afternoon and improved to 12-0 on the campaign.
Hotchkiss is ranked No. 4 according to the latest CHSAA online poll and played No. 1 Paonia in the first of two regular season matchups yesterday.
The Bulldogs beat Meeker 4-0 and 11-1 in the twinbill heading into the big showdown. Sophomore pitcher Jonathan Gonzalez hurled the full seven innings in the first game, walking one, striking out nine and allowing only three hits.
"I felt pretty good. My favorite pitch was the slider today," Gonzalez said. "My teammates brought me up. They did their job and I did my job."
Baseball is a family thing for Gonzalez, who learned the game from his father and who is backed up by his brother at shortstop, Bulldogs senior Cesar Gonzalez.
"My dad's the one that got me into playing baseball, ever since I was 3 years old," Gonzalez said. "It's amazing playing with my brother. Two years playing with him has been great. He's always bringing me up and helping me out."
The Bulldogs are a tightknit family where no one player stands out.
"Our whole team is pretty good. They all like the sport of baseball and I'm glad they're all playing," Gonzalez said. "I'm glad they're my teammates."
While Gonzalez handled the Cowboys lineup, the rest of the Bulldogs eked out just enough runs to win against Meeker starter Logan Hughes. Eli Kirk drove in a run with his double and Dom Beck also had an RBI double in the victory.
Kirk went to the mound in game two and picked up the win for Hotchkiss in five innings of work. The crafty lefthander gave up four hits, walked one and struck out five Cowboys (3-7).
Gonzalez moved to third base for that game and showed that he can hit, too, finishing 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Beck knocked in two more and Cole Carvill had a double with an RBI for the victors. Presley Pene chipped in with a triple and three RBIs for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs were riding a wave of momentum going into the matchup at Paonia yesterday.
"We're all excited for that game," Gonzalez said. "Super excited."