The defending Class 2A state champion Paonia Eagles opened the season Thursday with a 7-1 home win over Delta. Senior Kaden Seriani, one of four returning all-state players for the Eagles, allowed four hits in five innings and struck out 10.
In the bottom of the first inning, senior Slater Podgorny opened with a single, then stole second base. With one out, Jaden Miller doubled, and in his first at bat for the season, Seriani hit a three-run homer over center field.
In the third inning the Eagles took a 4-0 lead on an RBI double off the bat of Anders Schopp.
In the fourth inning, Seriani struck out three of four batters and allowed one hit, a single by Panther Josh Reeder. In the bottom of the fourth, Miller hit a two-run double, and Schopp drove Miller home on a one-run single to give Paonia a 6-0 lead. In the bottom of the fifth, Grey Neal singled to score Derek Holt from third, giving the Eagles a 7-0 lead.
After his home run, the Panthers walked Seriani in the third and fourth innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, with two outs, bases loaded, and the potential winning runners on base, Seriani (who was allowed to bat) sent an outside pitch out to center field. Centerfielder Dylan Hollenbeck made a running catch just inside the fence to send the game into the sixth inning.
The Panther's one run came in the top of the seventh, with Hollenbeck hitting a line drive triple with one out, then scoring on a single by Matt Easter.
Senior Jaspar Carmichael opened on the mound for Delta with three walks, five strikeouts, and five hits in three innings. Andrew Bair closed with four Ks, three walks and four hits. On offense, Kolby Keller was 2 for 3 with one double, and Hollenbeck was 2 for 3 with one run and one triple.
Schopp pitched the final two innings for the Eagles, allowing two hits and one earned run and striking out three.
Miller was 3 for 4 with two doubles, two RBIs, and three runs; Seriani was 2 for 2 with two RBIs and two runs; and Podgorny was 2 for 3 with two runs and two stolen bases.