After a five-hour lightning delay the first time the Montezuma-Cortez and Durango High School softball teams met two weeks ago, the teams met up again Tuesday at Durango High School.
One more brief lightning delay was not going to stop the games from being finished for a second time. Durango scored 11 runs in the top of the seventh to take the makeup game 18-6, while Cortez’s offense lit up the Demons in Game 2, as the Panthers won 20-6 in a shortened five-inning game.
Durango High School head coach John Bernazzani was impressed with how they were able to finish off Cortez in the first game.
“Regardless of another lightning strike, the girls were focused to come out and finish the business in the first game,” Bernazzani said. “Being up one run in the top of the seventh wasn’t enough against a good team like Cortez. I thought that the first game was an offensive explosion, but we weren’t able to sustain our hitting in the second game.”
Two weeks ago in Cortez, the Demons started the seventh down 6-2 but scored five runs before play was stopped at 7-6 with one out and runners on second and third.
On Tuesday, the Demons immediately got to work as Teagan Kehm drew a walk to load the bases, and then Sydney Flores also drew a walk to drive in an insurance run.
Two batters later, Alaysia Kremer hit a ground ball up the middle to drive in two more runs that broke the game wide open. The Demons had five RBI singles on Tuesday, and scored five times with two outs. Emma Candelaria and Teagan Kehm topped it off with back-to-back home runs. Broken up by 13 days, the Demons scored 16 runs in the seventh inning alone.
Kehm, who hit her first-career high school home run a half inning before, was able to get the win and struck out the final batter.
In Game 2, Cortez was led by freshman Rylee Hickman, who had two triples and a double, while Allie Kibel was 2-for-3 with a single and a double.
The Panthers (8-4, 5-3 3A Intermountain League) scored five in the top of the first, two in the second, three in the third and plated 10 in the fifth.
“I think our team stepped it up,” Hickman said. “I think coming from a tough ending in the first game and then coming back to score 20 runs in the second game was great.”
DHS responded with two in the bottom of the first to make it 5-2, but it was the defense that could not keep up with Cortez’s hitters.
“Game 2, the girls were like ‘OK, we’re ready to play now,’” said Cortez head coach Brittney Whiteman.
“They’re hitters and I’m glad they showed that today. In the past, we’ve always struggled here offensively, but today, they delivered.”
Bernazzani took note of the Panthers’ hitters, and said his team had a tough time managing to get outs, and were unable to produce the same offensive firepower like they did in Game 1.
“In the second game, Cortez really came alive,” Bernazzani said. “They got everything we could throw at them, and while a lot of their hits were hard, some of them just dropped in. I think the girls know we’ve gotta be better defensively. We didn’t make some plays that we should have, and it just gets back to catching and throwing. Our last three innings, it didn’t seem like we could put together anything at the plate.”
Durango was led by Lily Longan, who went 3-for-3 with a double. Bela Torres went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
The highlight for DHS came in the fourth when the Demons pulled four back, including three on a three-run home run from sophomore Mia Baguskas. Her home run made it 10-6, but DHS would not get closer.
Durango will host Palisade (5-6) at 3 p.m. Friday at DHS, and then will end its home schedule with a doubleheader against Montrose at noon and 2 p.m. Saturday.