Brayden Wilson hit his first homerun of the season and Ryan Pachl was 3 for 4 in the Bulldogs' two-game sweep Saturday against Gunnison.
"That helps a lot," said head coach Jason Yantzer, whose team won 10-7, 10-5, despite being down two key players.
"Those were pretty important wins." The Bulldogs are now 7-2 and in third place in 3A Western Slope competition, behind 10-1 Cedaredge and 9-1 Rifle.
Pachl scored one of his two runs in game one after hitting a line drive deep into center field, said Yantzer. "He pretty much sprinted the whole way around," and beat the throw into home. "It was pretty impressive."
Pitcher Edgar Macias threw the opening six innings. With a comfortable lead, Devan Rupe stepped in to get some much-needed throws in. Jaime Rodriguez threw 13 Ks and pitched a complete game 2.
Macias, a senior, has opened for the Bulldogs the entire season.
"When Eddie's on the hill in that first game, I have a lot of confidence in him, the team has a lot of confidence," said Yantzer. "It's important to us to get that first win and have that momentum carry into the second game."
Macias follows in the footsteps of older brother Cesar, who was the Bulldogs' starting pitcher in 2011.
"He taught me how to pitch, and I've been learning it all these years," said Macias, who moved to Hotchkiss from Center, in 8th grade and was a starting player for the Hotchkiss soccer team.
"I love baseball," said Macias, who is also an outfielder. He plays on a summer adult traveling team and pitched and fielded last summer for the newly-formed North Fork American Legion team. He finds every opportunity to practice. "It helps quite a bit," said Macias, who has recorded 68 strikeouts, including 12 on Saturday against Gunnison, and has walked 11 for the season. He currently leads the 3A division in Ks.
He's a leftie, but says that doesn't give him any advantage. The command of the pitch is what helps, he said. He's never had his pitch clocked but would like to. He and his coach estimate it to be in the mid-to high-80s range.
At 145 pounds, the 5-foot 10-inch senior doesn't have much weight behind him, but he can throw a mean fast pitch, or any other pitch called for. And he has a favorite. "I like the slider," he says with a grin. The ball will arc outside and drop as it comes across the plate. The batter can tell its coming, "but they don't hit it," he said. "It's tricky." And it's a good two-strike pitch.
Offensively, Macias is batting .350. He's yet to hit a homerun, but he's hit two triples and seven RBIs, including four against Gunnison, and has struck out four times in 26 plate appearances.
Macias, a native of Mexico, hopes to continue playing, and perhaps return to Mexico after graduation, where he was born and still has family, to play professionally. For now, he's just enjoying his senior year and hoping to help his team get a little deeper into the playoffs this year. In 2011, the Bulldogs placed fourth.
Just seven games remain on the Bulldogs' schedule, and rescheduling of a cancelled April 4 set of games against Aspen is still in the works.
They travel to Grand Valley (2-8) Saturday for two games. Next Tuesday they host the second of two games against Cedaredge starting at 4 p.m. Yantzer said that after defeating the Bruins in extra innings in early April, he's confident his team will do well, but he's also cautious, because the Bruins seem to be at their best every time the two meet.
"I've got a lot of respect for Cedaredge," he said. "It's always a good game between the two of us."blog comments powered by Disqus