It's every baseball player's dream, but for one Hotchkiss High School senior, a grand slam became very real last Saturday.
In game one of the two-game series against Meeker, Jamison Yanish opened on the mound. He wasn't throwing well, he said. In the first two innings he'd allowed Meeker to score four runs.
In the bottom of the second, as he explains, the score was tied at 4-4, and the Dogs had loaded the bases. Yanish was up to bat. "When I first walked up there, I was like, I'm going to make up for it," said Yanish of the Cowboys' four runs.
Coach Blake Carlquist told the team not to expect any home runs because it was a windy day. When Yanish stepped up to the plate, he faced into the wind. Cowboys pitcher Josh Murphy threw a fast ball. "I hit it dead center," said Yanish. Even in a headwind the ball cleared the fence right at center field.
Despite allowing a few runs, the whole team was playing really well, said Carlquist. "I knew someone would step up. I'm glad it was him." Yanish was playing hard, he said. "He doesn't have to make up for anything."
Carlquist credited the offense for the win, but said the defense played well too.
In the top of the fifth, with two outs and a runner at first, the run that would send the game into a sixth inning was up to bat. Pitcher Marvin Guereque moved to shortstop, and Carlquist put Parker Pene on the mound. A freshman, Pene confidently threw six pitches, the final pitch a strike on a full count to end the game and give the Bulldogs a 20-9 win.
In their 16-4 win in game two, in the bottom of inning one the entire lineup scored at least one run, Yanish hit a two-run homer, and the Dogs led, 14-0. Brian Gonzalez pitched five innings, striking out seven and allowing five hits and one earned run.
The Dogs are now 10-1 overall, 4-0 in 2A District 3/5 play. On April 10, they defeated 3A Coal Ridge, 19-3. Presley Pene threw five innings for three runs, three hits, three walks and 11 K. On offense, Guereque batted .800 --- four hits, two 2B, five RBIs and three runs; Presley Pene and Yanish batted .600, Jesus Macias had two hits and four runs in five at-bats. Landon Mayberry, Hunter Bryant and Elysah Shaw all had one run and one RBI.
The Bulldogs travel this week. They play their final home game against rival Paonia at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 25, then travel to Paonia on April 25 to finish the two-game series. On April 30 they play Rifle in a game originally scheduled to open the season. They wrap up regulation play on May 5 with a two-game series at Sargent (Monte Vista).