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Panthers' softball team doubles up against Durango

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Photo by Pat Sunderland Second baseman Jenna Sutliff gets the force at second, then completes a double play by rifling a throw to first baseman Desiree Garcia.

Coach Jerry Sandoval's Panthers came away with back-to-back wins during a doubleheader with the Durango Demons Friday afternoon. Durango was 7-0 coming into the contest.

Delta won the first game handily, 19-5, with six RBIs from Keely Porter. Delta exploded with 11 runs in the bottom half of the second inning, then added six more in the fourth and final inning of at-bats for the Panthers.

The Demons came out swinging in the second game, posting six runs in the first inning. Delta had just four and continued to trail until tying the game at 9-9 in the third inning. From there, it was all Panthers. Delta scored five in the fourth inning, then tacked on two more in the fifth inning to lead the game 16-9. Durango made things exciting with six runs in the seventh inning, but couldn't overcome Delta's lead. The final score was 16-15.

Sami Lane and Hailee Ruble pitched both games.

"That was fun," Coach Jerry Sandoval said of the game. Sandoval is in his first year as head coach, but has been with the DHS program for six years.

In preparation for a conference game against Gunnison Tuesday, Sandoval focused on hitting. "If we can hit, we can win a lot of games," he said.

He's working with 29 junior varsity and varsity players this year, which he said is challenging but also very exciting. The varsity team includes two freshmen, Hailee Ruble and Keely Porter, who hit a home run against Durango.

The seniors are "all doing good things," Sandoval said, and all the varsity players are gaining a lot of valuable experience. They'll need it heading into the second half of the season, where every league game gains importance. The Panthers are 4-4 and looking to peak at just the right time, Sandoval said.

The Panthers will play Cedaredge at the Field of Dreams Thursday, Sept. 14, at 4 and 6 p.m.

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