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Panthers win 4A WSL baseball title for 2016

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Photo courtesy Lori Reiher Delta’s Panthers finished the 2016 baseball season as the 4A WSL champions. A doubleheader sweep over Eagle Valley brought Delta’s league record to 14-0 while its overall mark is 16-3. In the front row, left to right, are Drake Horn, Colton Galvin, Easton Metcalf, Seth Mewhinney, Ethan Keller, Damon Jensen, Cameron Schall and Josh Reeder. Along the back row are, l-r, assistant coach Paul Shean, Dylan Hollenbeck, Cristian Hall, Jaspar Carmichael, Tristan Brown, Justin Violett, Ty McCurdy, Blake Reiher, Matt Easter, head coach Steve Reiher, assistant coach Keaton Reiher and assistant coach Steve Moralez,
Photo by Wayne Crick Ethan Keller lays down a bunt against Glenwood.

Jaspar Carmichael limited Glenwood Springs to just two hits and the Panther defense did the rest in a 12-2 WSL win last week. Carmichael worked five innings, allowing just two hits and two runs while striking out six Demons batters.

Delta battled cool weather and poor conditions in a Saturday doubleheader in Gypsum against Eagle Valley. The Panthers controlled the tempo in both games with scores of 12-6 and 17-9. The wins clinched a 4A WSL baseball title for the Panthers, who finished unbeaten in league play with a 14-0 record and 16-3 overall.

Carmichael helped his own cause with a double for two runs and scored twice himself.

Damon Jensen was 2-2, scored twice and had a pair of RBIs. Ethan Keller continued his strong play at the plate with three hits, scored twice and knocked in one run.

Delta got going in the bottom of the second inning and let Carmichael and the defense do most of the work until the fifth frame. A four-run rally in the fifth ended the game via the 10-run rule.

Cooper Cornelius' two-run blast came in the fourth inning and motivated Delta's offense to keep the bats going.

Game 1
Delta 12, Devils 6

Another fine outing for Carmichael had the Devils off balance for much of the game as the talented sophomore won his fifth game of the season, 12-6. This time Carmichael gave up six hits and four runs while striking out seven Eagle Valley batters in five innings of play.

Justin Violett's 2-3 day at the plate generated three RBIs and he scored twice. Jensen and Keller had three hits each and Carmichael banged out two hits for the winners.

Game 2
Delta 17, Devils 9

Delta eased its way to an 8-1 lead after plating five runs in the fourth inning. Another four-spot in the fifth had Delta leading 12-1 with the Devils coming to bat.

Eagle Valley made it interesting with a seven-run barrage in the bottom of the fifth, making the score 12-8.

Delta scored twice in the sixth and the Devils picked up two runs for a 14-9 Delta lead.

The Panthers iced the game with three runs in the top of the seventh while the defense shut down Eagle Valley's offense in the bottom half of the inning.

Drake Horn picked up his sixth win of the season after going 4.2 innings, allowing seven hits, seven runs and striking out three.

Hitting leaders for Delta included Cristian Hall who was 2-5 with four RBIs. Carmichael was 3-5 with a double and two RBIs, with Violett scoring four times and hitting a pair of doubles to pick up two RBIs. Ty McCurdy stroked a double on his way to a three-RBI day for the Panthers.

Coach Steve Reiher had nothing but praise for the Panthers. "I thought our boys really responded to playing in tough conditions in a tough situation. Keeping that level of energy is difficult to do throughout a season and these kids figured that out."

Reiher had more thoughts on the performances of his pitching staff. "I was really proud of our pitching staff for gutting it out. Carmichael pitched well, again, in game one and his defense played well behind him. Horn pitched well in game two but had a bit of trouble in game one. A ground ball to shortstop started a double play with Carmichael and (Blake) Reiher turning a beautiful double play to end the threat."

Hitting has been excellent for the Panthers and Reiher noted his players swung it well throughout the order, one through nine.

Delta awaits the seating committee's picks on Wednesday to see where it plays to open 4A playoff action. There is a definite shot at hosting.

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