Delta summer ball positive

By Wayne Crick


Steve Reiher's summer baseball program is progressing toward the final weeks of competition. To date, the Panthers sport a 13-5-1 record following last week's action.

Reiher briefly recapped his team's season.

During play in a Montrose tournament, Delta tied with Montrose, 8-8 and defeated Eagle Valley, 9-0 on Blake Reiher's one-hit shutout, on May 27. On the 28th, Delta defeated Horizon with Dylan Hollenbeck tossing a four-hit shut out, and then defeated Moab, Utah, 7-4 on a Tristan Brown walk-off three-run home run.

In the month of June, the Panthers started with a doubleheader loss (11-4 and 8-6) to Cody, Wyo., on May 4 and fell 7-5 to Central, in 11 innings on June 6.

Delta got back on the winning side with an 8-0 victory over Hotchkiss on June 8 then lost to Montrose, 11-10, on June 9.

The Panthers rebounded with a 16-10 win over Gunnison on June 10 but fell for the second time this summer to Central, 11-7.

On June 16, Delta, behind a Justin Violett home run, knocked off Grand Junction 15-11.

The Panthers banged out six ground-rule doubles, two triples and another Violett home run on June 17 to outscore Eagle Valley, 23-5.

With few stats kept in summer play, Reiher noted how his team has played so far. "We have swung it well all summer. We have 11 games left in the next two weeks with tournaments in Grand Junction, Central and Rifle. Our pitching continues to improve despite what the scores indicate. We've been pushing our pitchers a little more and making them work through some difficult innings. We've played solid defense for the most part and have had some games where we've had to put players in places they've never played, but that is good for us in the long run and good for our program by making them more versatile."

The past week was a busy one for the local team. Action started with an 11-2 win over Grand Junction on Tuesday. Drake Horn and Dylan Hollenbeck combined their efforts on the mound to preserve the victory.

Violett hammered a home run for the winners.

A Wednesday contest was a 4-1 win over Eagle Valley with Blake Reiher going the distance for Delta. "We pitched very well (80 pitches in seven innings) and played great defense," noted coach Reiher. The hitting was not there, but "Horn hit a 3-run double that was the difference in the game."

Thursday's schedule began with a 1 p.m. game against Fruita and ended with a game in Rifle against The Academy of Westminster.

Delta has had some difficult games against Fruita this summer and this one was no different. The game went extra innings. After being down 9-3 heading to the sixth, Delta came out of the frame leading 11-9. Fruita tied the game in the seventh, but Delta reclaimed the lead, 15-11 in the ninth before losing 16-15.

Cristian Hall, Kolby Keller and Darien Rodriguez all saw time on the hill with Rodriguez being saddled with the loss.

Reiher noted his team's ability to swing the bats again. Ty McCurdy and Violett had great days at the plate. Violett stroked an opposite field, three-run homer in the first inning and McCurdy had a pair of doubles.

The Academy game was part of the Rifle tournament and Jaspar Carmichael "pitched a gem" said Reiher. Delta won the game 10-0 with Carmichael giving up one hit and hitting a batter while striking out 12 in five innings of work (with only 66 pitches).

Delta played Rifle on Friday and won 10-5. Hollenbeck and Rowyn Carmichael combined for the win while the Panthers enjoyed another good day at the plate with Blake Reiher and Jaspar Carmichael leading the way. Delta's defense was solid in the win.

A Saturday contest against Conifer ended with a 13-1 decision for the Panthers. "We went 4-0 in the Rifle Tournament and won it. Ty McCurdy and Justin Violett pitched and did a great job. We had another very solid defensive game as well," stated Reiher.

Delta's record, unofficially, is 13-5-1.