The Durango High School baseball season came to a close in the regional semifinals Saturday.
Class 4A Region 4 host Palisade took an early 3-0 lead after one inning and stretched it to 5-0 after two. Durango stormed back with four runs in the fourth inning on a two-run double from Joe Pope and a two-run home run from Fynn Hyson, but it wasn’t enough against a loaded Bulldogs team in a 12-5 loss.
The Demons (9-14) were held to six hits in 30 plate appearances, while the Bulldogs (17-8) tallied 11 hits in the game.
Sophomore pitcher Gage Mestas took the loss for Durango. He lasted 3 1/3 innings and allowed nine hits and 10 runs with eight earned. He walked two and struck out three.
“He just didn’t seem on today,” DHS head coach Eric Baker said of Mestas. “He wasn’t able to consistently keep the ball down; just didn’t have his best stuff today.”
Hyson pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief and was sharp, as he allowed only two hits and two runs – one earned – to go with one strikeout. He didn’t walk a batter. It was a strong showing for the junior, who also had the homer in the fourth, as his high fly ball sailed to left field and went off the Palisade left fielder’s glove for the homer.
“He came in and threw well,” Baker said. “At that point, we were behind a little bit, so we were hoping he could keep us in and give us a chance. We weren’t able to generate any more threats to claw our way back in.”
After Durango’s four-run fourth, the Bulldogs answered back with five more runs in the fourth to take a commanding 10-4 lead.
At the plate, Mestas was 3-for-4 with two doubles. Pope was 1-for-2 with the two-run double. Hyson was 2-for-3. Runs were also scored by Jack Benner, Elias Fiddler and Al Hurworth.
Palisade was led at the plate by junior Stevenson Reynolds. He went 3-for-3 with two triples, a double five runs batted in and two runs scored. Jack Mohler pitched five innings and earned the win. He allowed four hits and four runs – two earned – to go with three strike outs and two walks. Reynolds closed the game and allowed one unearned run on one hit. He struck out two.
DHS will lose three seniors in Gus Kidd, Hurworth and Dawson Marcum. The team will return five sophomore starters, and Hyson will be a senior next year.
“We definitely have a lot of young kids coming back that gained a lot of experience this year,” Baker said. “It’s tough going through the ups and downs. Baseball is up and down no matter what, even with a lot of experience. Hopefully, we’ll be able to tap into that next year and be a little more experienced and hopefully come out on the right side of these experiences.”
Palisade later was eliminated in the regional championship game in a 9-6 loss to Fort Morgan (17-8), which will advance to the Class 4A double-elimination state tournament.