If not for a hiccup in Delta's middle innings of its game against Alamosa Saturday morning, the Panthers could well have been 3-0 for the weekend's competition in the first annual Luke Oeltjenbruns Memorial Baseball Tournament co-hosted by Cedaredge.
Delta took on St. Mary's of Colorado Springs in its tournament opener on Friday, March 15, and overcame a slow start to win a 5-3 decision.
Saturday's schedule featured an early morning contest against highly touted Alamosa. The Mean Moose used a six-run third inning to sneak past a sluggish Delta team, 10-7.
The Panthers final game of the weekend was played on Saturday against Pagosa Springs. Delta routed the Pirates, 14-4, to finish the weekend tournament with a 2-1 record.
Delta 5, St. Mary's 3
Sophomore Nolan Bynum began the game on the mound for Delta and had struck out the game's first batter showing poise and excellent control of his location. Bynum had the Pirate's Sam Baldwin in a two-strike count when the lefthander drove a pitch over the right field fence to give St. Mary's a 1-0 lead. Delta went in order in its half of the first inning.
The Panthers went to work in the second inning with senior Trevor Myers banging a triple to start the bottom half of the inning.
A Gauge Lockhart single plated Myers to tie the game, 1-1. A double off the bat of senior Andrew Baier brought Lockhart home and the Panthers had a lead, 2-1, they would not relinquish.
St. Mary's collected a pair of hits in the top of the third but failed to score.
Delta put together another two-run inning on three hits, all singles, from Kolby Keller, Lockhart and Caden Stell. Keller and Myers scored in the rally to give the Panthers a 4-1 lead heading to the fourth inning.
Neither team scored in the fourth frame and the Panthers made a pitching change in the top of the fifth with Clayton Abila coming in from center field to relieve Bynum. Abila gave up a pair of singles to cause some anxiety for Delta fans but redeemed himself with two strikeouts and a pop-up to Nate Workman at shortstop to stop the threat.
St. Mary's mounted a threat in the top of the fifth and used back-to-back extra base hits to score a pair of runs and cut the Panthers' lead to 4-3.
Abila shut down the Pirate's offense in the sixth by striking out two of the three batters he faced and preserve the 4-3 lead.
Baier was walked in Delta's half of the sixth and later scored when Abila struck out and the ball was dropped by the catcher. An errant throw to first got past St. Mary's first baseman and rolled deep down the right field line allowing Baier to score and Abila to reach third base.
Baldwin, who had come into the game to face Baier, struck out the last two Delta hitters to limit the Panthers to just one run and a 5-3 lead.
Lockhart took the mound in the top of the seventh and finished the game with three strikeouts to preserve Delta's 5-3 win.
Lockhart led Delta's hitting attack with two hits in three at bats followed by singles from Myers, Stell, Keller and Baier.
St. Mary's Baldwin had two hits in four plate appearances and an RBI. Josh White also had two hits for the Pirates.
Bynum picked up the win for Delta with three innings of work while giving up three hits, one walk and five strikeouts.
Alamosa 10, Delta 7
Alamosa's six-run third inning was more than the Panthers could overcome following a three-run fourth by the Mean Moose. Delta countered with three runs of its own in the bottom of the fourth to make the score 9-4.
Alamosa added a single run in the top of the fifth and Delta scored three in its half of the inning to make the final score 10-7 in a time-limited contested.
Senior Rowyn Carmichael was Delta's top hitter with three hits in three at bats. Lockhart, Stell, and Myers had singles in the loss.
Kayden Hardesty and Ben Wuckert had two hits apiece and three RBIs each in their day's work.
Baier took the loss and John Lujan earned the win for Alamosa.
Panthers 14, Pirates 4
Delta began its final game of the tournament with its foot on the gas. After giving up two runs to Pagosa Springs in the top of the first inning, the Panthers ripped Pirates' pitching for eight runs to take a commanding 8-2 lead.
Another four runs in the second inning and two in the third were enough to hold off the outmanned Pirates, 14-4, in five innings.
Lockhart continued his torrid hitting spree with two more hits and three runs scored. Myers scored three times on a one-hit day and Stell was one for three with an RBI for the winners.
Senior Ryan Cooper worked four innings and gave up two hits, one run and struck out six batters on his way to the win
Delta faced Elizabeth on Monday and is scheduled to host Mountain View (Loveland) on Wednesday, at 4 p.m.
The Panthers are at the St. Mary's tournament this weekend with a Friday (March 22) game against Alamosa (4 p.m.).
Saturday's schedule has Delta meeting Buena Vista at 9 a.m. and then ending the tournament against host St. Mary's Pirates in a 12 p.m. contest.