The 2018 baseball season began as it did a year ago with a win over Roaring Fork's Rams. Delta defeated the Rams 8-1 in its season opener last year and dealt a 10-0 loss to them to begin the 2018 season on March 9.
Delta's season was extended last year with playoff games against Rye and Valley. Delta won its opening playoff contest against Rye, 15-1, then fell to Valley, 20-17, to end its season.
Last week's game, against Roaring Fork in Delta, was controlled by three pitchers in a 10-0 shutout in five innings. Senior Drake Horn was on the mound first for the Panthers and pitched two innings of shutout ball with five strikeouts. Senior Jaspar Carmichael pitched the next two innings giving up one hit and struck out six batters. Senior Dylan Hollenbeck had the fifth inning and delivered a perfect inning with three strikeouts to end the game.
A three-run first inning was highlighted by senior Josh Reeder's two-run blast. The Panthers added a fourth run in the bottom of the second inning on a Hollenbeck sharp single that scored Carmichael, who had reached base on a single and was on second with a stolen base.
Neither team scored in the third and the Rams were shut down in the fourth after getting a hit and a walk off reliever Jaspar Carmichael in the fourth. Carmichael went on to strike out three in the inning to leave two men on.
Delta's bats were busy in the bottom of the fifth with six hits producing six runs to end the game, 10-0. Reeder started the inning with a single followed by a double from junior Trevor Myers, a single from Rowyn Carmichael (two-RBI hit), a double from senior KC Carlson, a triple from junior Clayton Abila (two-RBI hit) and a single off the bat of senior Matt Easter.
Reeder, Jaspar Carmichael, Carlson and Myers all had two hits each in the Panthers win.
Delta coach Steve Reiher was happy with the win and had this to say about his team's play. "I was really happy with the way we started the season. I thought we did the little things right for the most part and took advantage of some miscues by Roaring Fork. I was really pleased with the three pitchers we used. I thought they were all efficient, and for the first outing, I thought they were throwing with good velocity and hitting spots." Reeder's work at the plate was also discussed. "We (coaching staff) were talking about how over the last two years Josh has had a number of clutch hits. He can flat swing it!"
Delta faces 2A Paonia, last year's 2A State Champion (25-0) on March 15 at Volunteer Park in Paonia at 4 p.m. The Eagles slipped past Delta, 4-2, in last year's contest.
The Panthers are on the road for games in Erie, a Tri-Valley League member, March 16 at 4 p.m. and are in Niwot, a Northern League member, March 17, for an 11 a.m. contest. Both schools are Class 4A schools.
Delta heads into next week (March 21) with a home game with 5A Grand Junction scheduled for a 4 p.m. start. The Panthers lost a 6-5 squeaker to the Tigers a year ago.