Furious fifth: Farmers win big, ending IHS Invite

IGNACIO—Touched for just a leadoff single in the bottom of the first, and a one-out double in the second, Sargent’s Ryan Davis was otherwise untouchable Saturday evening.

And with fifth place at the 2017 Ignacio Invitational up for grabs, his teammates not only provided more than ample run support offensively but also the necessary defense to ensure he’d step off the mound with a shutout.

Having broken the ice against the hosting Bobcats in the visitors’ first with an unearned run following a lead walk against Dalton Labarthe, Davis attempted to pick off IHS’ Marcus Chapman early in the home half but gave the junior second base with an errant throw.

No matter; after Davis got Timmy Plehinger-Williams to fly to leftfielder Ivan Jimenez, SHS catcher Hunter Younkerman hosed Chapman trying to steal third. And after Davis plunked Kai Roubideaux, he re-composed himself and froze cleanup hitter Zach Weinreich to end the threat.

Highlighted by a two-out, two-RBI Davis single and subsequent two-RBI single by Younkerman, Sargent ripped the game open with five runs in the second—chasing Labarthe (L; 2 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) off the hill in the process.

Ignacio’s Lawrence Valdez then doubled to left with one out in the bottom half, but was cut down trying to stretch the knock into a triple and Davis then got seven-man Joe Herrera to fly to centerfielder Esteban Aguilera.

And save for fifth-inning pinch-hitter Jaden Maez reaching on an error by shortstop Christian Schaller, Davis (W, CG; 5 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 5 K) retired nine of the last ten ’Cats he’d face in order—the last two being PH Mike Archuleta, swinging at a third strike, and PH Tauno Wilmer, staring at a third strike.

Bouncing back from a 6-5 loss to Dolores (winless in ’16) and 13-1 loss to 3A Salida the previous day, the Farmers followed up their five-run second with one in the third, two in the fourth and five in the fifth—capped by first baseman Trevor Milne’s two-out, two-RBI ground-rule double to right off Cesar Pedregon, IHS’ fifth pitcher used in the 14-0 blowout.

Milne would finish a homer short of the cycle in going 3-for-4 with four batted in.  Younkerman went 2-3 with a double and three ribbies (his courtesy runner, Brent Harrison, scored twice), and Davis was 1-3 with the aforementioned initial go-ahead scratch (CR Eamonn Zollars would later score twice) and two driven in.

Batting sixth in Terry VanBibber’s order, second baseman Justin Hacsi was officially 0-for-0 but drew three walks and scored three times, once on a throwing error by Roubideaux after stealing third.  And from the nine-hole, rightfielder Dylan Brandt was 1-2 with a walk, two runs and two RBI (both in the fifth inning).

Up next, Sargent (2-3 overall) will travel to 3A Pagosa Springs Tuesday, Mar. 21.  Also attending the Invite, the Pirates improved to 3-1 overall with a 6-4 win over DHS (2-3) in the third-place game, while 3A Buena Vista (3-0) held off area rival 3A Salida (4-2) in a 19-16 slugfest to decide a champion.

Already hampered by ineligibilities of several regulars, Ignacio dropped to 0-3 with a visit Saturday, Mar. 25, to SHS awaiting the ’Cats next.