Rob Coddington expressed a level of disappointment uncharacteristic for the coach of a baseball team returning to the postseason after a years absence.
At Mondays practice, the Durango High School head coach stressed to his team the importance of hitting the ball to the opposite field and proper mechanics.
Durango mustered just four runs in a pair of losses to Grand Junction and Grand Junction Central last weekend, losses that doused its Southwestern League title hopes and possible chance to host a district tournament. In its first 16 games, DHS averaged 7.75 runs per game, making four runs in two games an unusual dropoff.
So on Monday, the Demons worked on offense and offense alone, looking to recapture the firepower they lacked a weekend ago, trying to sew up as many flaws, perceived or otherwise, as the season draws to a close.
Such is the mindset of a team heading into a one-and-done district tournament, hoping to advance to state in Class 4A, and its one Coddington said isnt entirely dissimilar to the regular season with a limited 19-game slate.
We went from being in contention to win the league and feeling pretty confident about that and then losing two in a row ... and the best we can end up is third, Coddington said. You go from aspirations of hosting to getting on the bus again and driving to the Front Range.
Durango will attempt to get back to its take-the-extra-base, hit-and-run, precision-execution style of offense today when the Demons (10-8, 5-4 SWL) meet rival Montezuma-Cortez at 4 p.m. at DHS for Senior Day. After all, its their final dress rehearsal before the real thing gets going, and a loss could damage their seeding.
Its definitely crucial that we hit well against Cortez, just motivation, you know, even though we already beat them once this year. ... Going into the playoffs, its definitely huge to be hitting well, said infielder Connor Dugan, himself a .340 hitter this season.
For this group of Demons, playoff baseball isnt something theyre used to. The roster isnt heavy with postseason experience, with only John Bernazzani having played a playoff game.
For Joe Brennan, who will see plenty of work on the mound for as long as the run lasts, its a situation hes looking forward to but has little basis of comparison for.
I kind of imagine Grand Junction as similar to a playoff game because theyre a good team, Brennan said. I like pitching against Grand Junction because knowing that theyre a good hitting team and trying to, like, be able to stop them and shut them down, it feels really good.
But, as Durangos bench boss puts it, theres no reason why his squad cant prevail on the road and find its way into the double-elimination portion of the tournament, when the field trims to eight experience or not.
Weve got a chance to play for the state title. Granted, were one of 32 teams, but weve got a chance. We need to capitalize on that, Coddington said.