Despite an 0-3-1 start to the season, Paonia head coach Drew Potter is anything but disappointed in his team.
Paonia lost its season-opener to 3A Hotchkiss, then went 0-2-1 in last weekend's Lloyd McMillan Baseball Tournament.
Paonia was the only 2A team in the Class 4A tournament. Potter said he entered the tournament for two reasons: to see how his team stacked up against the bigger schools, and to give his players the tough experience they will need going into playoff season.
"A win would have been nice, but we were in it in all three games," said Potter. "I think that we found out that we can stand up to any team," regardless of class, and that should bode well for the remainder of the season.
KC Christian led off with a double in the 4-4 tie game Friday against Eagle Valley and scored on an RBI single by Landon Long. The Devils answered with three first-inning runs, then remained scoreless until the sixth when they took a 4-3 lead. Dustin Braslin scored a game-tying run in the seventh, and the game was called after nine innings due to time constraints.
Derek Heineger pitched five innings, and Long the final four to combine for eight strike-outs.
Eagle Valley has a veteran team, so a tie was respectable, said Potter.
On Saturday, Paonia lost 8-5 to Moffat County. With seven errors, mostly on throws that allowed their opponents to score, Paonia had it's worse defensive game of the tournament, said Potter.
Paonia lost 5-4 in their final game against Delta. Paonia took an early two-run lead, and the game was tied at four going into the bottom of the seventh. Delta is a well-coached team, said Potter. They were able to pull ahead thanks to a solid core of players.
The team had solid hits throughout the tournament, but they weren't always able to string them together in the same inning, which would have translated into more runs. That's an area they will work on, said Potter.
Paonia has games scheduled against other 4A teams, including Steamboat Springs and Battle Mountain. The home game against the Huskies has been rescheduled for April 3. The varsity tem will travel to Nucla on March 27, and will host their home opener in a conference game against Rangely on March 31.