The Paonia Eagles wrapped up 2A Western Slope conference competition Saturday, defeating Meeker, 14-4, 15-4, at Meeker.
Meeker has improved this season and played well, said head coach Drew Potter.
"We had to earn everything we got off of them."
In game one, Paonia scored five runs in the fifth inning and had three, two-run innings for the win.
Keaton Kropp was 3-5 including a three-run homer to center field. It was also the first home run for the senior, whom Potter described as a consistent hitter and "more of a line-drive single/double hitter." His six RBIs for the game are a season-best for the team, said Potter.
Tyler Kendall also batted three for five for a triple and four RBIs in game one. Jorge Quinonez led the Eagles in scoring with three runs.
Taylor Katzer struck out seven of 21 batters in five innings. Quinonez closed game one, allowing one hit in two innings.
Meeker scored all four of its runs in the fourth inning.
In game two, Quinonez was four of five from the plate with three RBIs; Kendall hit three for five, including a triple and three RBIs. Kendall pitched six innings, allowing seven hits and striking out four.
Paonia had two errors on the day.
Outfielder Tyler Jackson, whom Potter described as "one of the best defensive players in the state," was dealing with an injury to his hand, and was a courtesy runner on Saturday. He is expected to recover in time for the playoffs.
"I'm pretty happy with where we are," heading into districts, said Potter. After trying out several defensive combinations, "We've finally found where people need to be."
Josh Altman, who has played at second base and short stop, will play at third base.
Quinonez and Katzer will rotate in at short stop, and Quinonez will cover first when starting first baseman Kendall is pitching.
While hitting stats are down slightly from last year, when Paonia placed fourth in the state tournament, they are still impressive.
The team's hitting game — with a combined batting average of .373 — is solid, and the batting order is set, said Potter. This year's sacrifice hit numbers are up, as are stolen base numbers. Paonia is 49 of 56 in stolen base attempts and was successful on 20 of the last 21 attempts.
The Eagles wrapped up scheduled play Tuesday in a non-league bout against Cedaredge (9-5, 8-4 3A WSL). Results will be published in the May 8 edition of the DCI. They are in first place in the WSL, with Hotchkiss (12-5, 8-4) in second place.
The 2A District 2 tournament between the top three teams in the WSL and the San Juan Basin League (Nucla, Dolores and Ignacio) will be held May 9-10 at Delta.
Hotchkiss is in second place in the WSL, and Rangely and Meeker will play a pigtail game this Friday, with the winner advancing to the tournament.
This is anyone's tournament, said Potter. In March, Paonia split a non-conference DH against Nucla, the No. 1 team in the SJL, and split a double-header against Hotchkiss.
Last Friday, the Bulldogs were upset in game one of a double-header played against Rangely's Panthers.blog comments powered by Disqus