Stiff, dusty gusts swept across Ward Lee Field, but the lunar-like conditions did nothing to slow the smoldering offense of the Durango High School baseball team.
The Demons blew past Southwestern League opponent Grand Junction Central 14-10 on Friday afternoon in a game chock-full of pitching and fielding mistakes.
"They compete," DHS head coach Rob Coddington said. "The whole team battled for us. I'm really proud of another good win."
Junior infielder Kenneth Gallegos, who went 2-3 with a triple, a double, a walk and three RBIs, said the Demons have been working diligently at the plate, and the hard work has shown through in results like Friday's.
"I think we can hit with anybody," Gallegos said.
It was the Warriors (7-5 overall, 0-3 SWL) who got on the board first, when designated hitter Travis Key smoked a single that drove in Alex Heide.
A throwing error from Demon second baseman Phil Crom allowed Key to come home, and it was 2-0 after one inning.
As has become their habit, the Demons came fighting right back with a single and a steal from senior Tyler McKnight, setting up an RBI double from Gallegos that soared over the center fielder's head.
The bottom of the second was an absolute nightmare for Central.
Chris Breed singled, Christian Silva walked, and Crom's would-be sacrifice attempt led to a throwing error from the catcher that brought home both runners and sent Crom to third.
McKnight then coaxed a walk, and John Ugai belted a triple to the base of the left-center field fence to plate two more.
The Demons weren't done yet, though.
Aaron Coats drew a walk and Gallegos hit the second smash of the inning, this one a two-RBI triple to the left-center fence.
After a Warrior throwing error scored Gallegos, Central's Heide replaced starter Scott Clou.
He didn't fare much better, however, immediately conceding an RBI double from Justin Whirlow that made it 9-2.
"We banged the ball that inning," said assistant coach Mike Jaramillo, filling in at third base for Coddington, who was relegated to the announcer's booth after an ejection in last Tuesday's game against Bloomfield.
The Warriors wouldn't go down without a fight.
John Woods drew an RBI walk, Kyle Brown hit an RBI single to short, and Clou atoned for his mistakes with a two-RBI single to center before the frame finally ended.
"Those middle innings have really been our nemesis," Jaramillo said.
"We come out, 'Bang, Bang, Bang,' and then that's always kind of a letdown for us."
The relentless Central lineup scored three more in the top of the fifth to knot it at nine, and Ugai was forced into a relief outing.
Silva's single to left center led off the bottom half, then Crom hit his second bunt single of the game just fair up the first baseline.
Ugai earned a walk to load the bases, and Coats hit a long sacrifice fly to center for a one-run lead before pinch runner Jordan Gillen was caught in a rundown at first.
Ugai retired three of four batters in the top of the sixth, and the Demons gave themselves some insurance runs when Jaramillo was called into duty on wild pitches that scored Gallegos and Chase Locke.
"It's a different ballgame moving from first to third and having to make some of those calls," Jaramillo said.
"Some of them worked out alright, huh?"
Not content with a three-run cushion, McKnight knocked a single up the middle with two outs to score two more after a misplay by the center fielder, and DHS pushed the lead to 14-9.
Woods hit an RBI single for the Warriors to make it 14-10 with two outs in the top of the seventh, but Ugai buckled down and got Heide to strike out swinging for the game's final out.
"The guys have been swinging the bats all year, getting the clutch hits when we need them," Coddington said.
"The guys have got some things to work on, as far as the two guys that pitched (Friday). I think we can get those things corrected so they can have strong outings."
Coats and Ugai were never hit very hard, but lacked their best control in the win.
"The balls they did hit, our pitchers missed just barely, but they're coming along pretty well," Whirlow said.
"It was a good game for us," Whirlow said.
"We really battled for a couple of innings. We really need to put together all nine innings and not just play two or three."
The Demons host Fruita Monument today at 10 a.m.