Stars align at Durango High School

Brennan, DHS to host Miller, BHS in an historic prep baseball affair

Durango senior Joe Brennan likely will start for the Durango Demons today in a nonconference regional rivalry baseball game against left-hander Clay Miller and the Bayfield Wolverines. The game will match two of the region’s top starting pitchers. Enlarge photo

Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file photo

Durango senior Joe Brennan likely will start for the Durango Demons today in a nonconference regional rivalry baseball game against left-hander Clay Miller and the Bayfield Wolverines. The game will match two of the region’s top starting pitchers.

There’s a red star today on the Durango High School baseball schedule.

Coincidentally, there’s a purple star on today’s Bayfield High School baseball calendar.

Those stars will converge today with a three-star Southwest Colorado baseball classic and instant history – Bayfield varsity baseball vs. Durango varsity baseball.

For the first time in the modern era, the Demons will play the Wolverines on the baseball diamond. And both sides equally are excited about the nonconference contest at 4 p.m. today at the DHS field – a game that will match two of the region’s top pitchers.

“We’re excited, and I know Clay is excited,” Bayfield head coach Tom Horton said.

He’ll send junior left-hander Clay Miller – one of the top Class 3A pitchers in the state – to the mound against the Demons.

“Clay knows those guys. He played summer ball with them ... I know he’s excited; he’s focused,” Horton said.

“I think we all have a lot of respect for Clay,” said Durango’s head coach, Rob Coddington, who managed the lefty in summer baseball.

“Clay is a very competitive kid – (he’s) talented, (he’s) got a great fastball, and he’s left-handed,” Coddington said.

He’s also gotten the attention of the Durango hitters.

In 18 innings of work this spring, Miller has a 1.17 earned run average and 46 strikeouts.

A year ago in the CHSAA Class 3A Boys Baseball State Championships, Miller struck out 13 St. Mary’s hitters in an eventual 11-10 five-inning loss.

“It’ll be great for our team to see great pitching,” Coddington said. “We had a lot of fun with Clay on our summer team, and I think our guys are up for the challenge he poses.”

The pitching test comes during a break in Southwestern League play for the Class 4A Demons. (DHS also will host Delta in another nonconference game at 1 p.m. Tuesday.)

That’s something Coddington had in mind when he and Horton worked out the scheduling details to give Miller a chance to pitch against the Demons (6-5).

“Clay’s rested. That’s the way we set it up,” Horton said. “Clay will be fresh for Durango.”

Likewise, a fresh Joe Brennan of Durango, with his 4.03 ERA and 19 strikeouts, will have a chance to pitch against Miller and the Wolverines (3-5).

“I think that makes sense because Joe’s got a couple of things to work out on the mound,” Coddington said of the DHS senior, who’s already signed to play baseball at Eastern Arizona College next year along with teammate Danny Rowley.

Rowley, the Demons’ starting catcher, also might pitch today against the Wolverines.

“It will be better than any pitching we’ve seen so far,” Horton said. “And better pitching depth.”

Each coach will take whatever offense his team can generate.

“I think it’s great for the community for us to play Bayfield,” Coddington said.

“We’re nervous,” Horton said. “But it’s a good nervous.”

heraldsports@durangoherald.com