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Panthers exit state 4A baseball playoffs

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Photo by Wayne Crick Damon Jensen's throw from behind the plate was in time to gun down this Windsor player attempting to steal second. Shortstop Jaspar Carmichael took the throw from Jensen and made the tag. Delta second baseman Blake Reiher watches the

Delta High School's Panthers represented the Class 4A WSL well at last weekend's state playoff action in Frederick. Delta was in all three games, even though losing scores may not reflect it, right to the end. The Panthers opened their quest for a state title with a 7-6 victory over Erie on Friday morning. An afternoon contest against Pueblo West did not go as well, as the Panthers dropped a 7-1 decision to the Cyclones. Saturday's matchup with the Wizards of Windsor also proved to be a tough outing, with Delta losing a 6-0 verdict, eliminating the Panthers from this year's state baseball tournament.

Delta, the winners in 4A WSL play, defeated Durango and Pueblo South on its way to Frederick last weekend. The Panthers ended a great 4A campaign with a 19-5 record and a top six finish in Class 4A rankings.

Delta 7, Erie 6

Erie's Tigers staged a furious comeback effort late in the game against Delta but could not pull off a win in Class 4A state baseball playoffs in Frederick.

Delta, trailing 4-1 at the end of five innings, pulled off a five-run sixth to take a 6-4 lead into the seventh inning.

Another run in the top of the seventh made it 7-4 with the Tigers coming to bat.

Erie built a 3-1 lead off Delta starter Drake Horn after four innings and four hits.

Blake Reiher came on to relieve Horn in the fifth and worked the final three innings, giving up a hit and two runs to earn the win.

Junior Justin Violett paced Delta's offense with two hits, including a double and a home run and an RBI with Violett scoring three times for the Panthers in the contest.

Junior Damon Jensen had two hits with a triple and two RBIs, with teammate Ty McCurdy knocking in a pair of runs with a two for four day at the plate.

Sophomore Jaspar Carmichael had a two-RBI day with a triple accounting for two runs.

Cyclones 7, Delta 1

In Friday afternoon's late game, Delta struggled all game long with Pueblo West's pitching and little miscues which prevented them from being more productive on offense.

Ethan Keller led the Panthers' offense with two hits, including a triple, and two RBIs. Carmichael had a double and an RBI for Delta.

Carmichael took the loss for his first loss of the season for the hard-throwing righthander. After reaching his pitch-count number late in the game, Carmichael was forced off the hill with Delta trailing 3-1. Sophomore Dylan Hollenbeck and junior Cristian Hall were ineffective in relief appearances as the Cyclones added three more runs for a 7-1 finish.

Windsor 6, Delta 0

For the first time this year, Delta was shut down without a run to its credit. The Wizards retired Delta hitters in order in the second, third and fifth innings.

The Panthers had an opportunity to score in the first inning but Damon Jensen was out at home while trying to score on a dropped ball by the catcher.

Windsor executed a trio of double plays to squash potential offensive threats in the second, fifth and seventh innings.

Delta trailed 1-0 going to the bottom of the sixth inning. Starting pitcher Ethan Keller ran into trouble early in the inning and gave up five runs before Reiher could retire the side with a pop fly to Carmichael at shortstop.

Jensen had two of Delta's six hits in the game. Reiher, Josh Reeder, Tristan Brown and Justin Violett all had singles in the game for Delta.

Delta coach Steve Reiher reflected on his team's state tournament play. "It was a great experience for our kids. I think they now understand how the "little things" can and will beat you at that level of ball. Our pitchers threw really well. They improved a ton since the beginning of the year. Beautiful thing is we get them all back, as well as Justin Violett (not able to pitch due to an injury). I think seeing the level of play at the 4A state tournament will really help us next year, and the years to come."

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