Tigers sweep DH from Cortez with clutch hits and some long blasts

Jennifer Kelly of Grand Junction hits a single in the first game with Cortez. She hit the walk off single to win the game.

GJ catcher Paula Lage misses a tag as Cortez’ Kellie Deremo scores

A close call and a romp.

The Grand Junction High School softball team experienced both Friday at Kronkright Complex in a doubleheader against Montezuma-Cortez. The Tigers won the first game 5-4 on a walk-off single and cruised to a 20-7 victory in the second game.

In the first game, The Tigers (12-4, 4-4 Southwestern League) took a 4-2 lead over the Panthers when junior Whitney Robinson hit a two-run home run over the left field fence in the fifth inning. The score stayed the same until the
Panthers plated two runs off freshman reliever Brianna Maston to tie the game in the top of the seventh inning.

In the bottom half of the inning, the first two Tigers reached base, but watched as the next two hitters failed to advance the runners. With two outs, junior Jennifer Kelly smashed a rope to left-center to score Kelsey Jull from second base for the victory.

Game Two was a slugfest, as both teams found their swings and lost their gloves. The two teams combined for six errors and 24 hits in the game.

The Tigers started off the hit parade in the first inning with patience and big rips at the plate. Eleven batters came to the plate, with the first seven all reaching base and scoring. Two runs came on catcher Paula Lage’s home run to left field. Lage ended up going 5 for 8 in the doubleheader with four runs and two RBI.

The Tigers scored two more runs in the second when starting pitcher Elena Arrieta homered to left to take a 9-0 lead.

The Panthers rallied back, scoring three runs in the second and scoring four more in the third. After only recording one out in the third, head coach Adam Diaz lifted Arrieta for Maston with one runner on. Maston struck out two of the next three hitters to get out of the inning. Maston, who also relieved Arrieta in game one, clamped down on Cortez, allowing only two of the final 13 hitters she faced to reach base.

“Brianna’s performance was awesome,” Diaz said after the game. “She came through for us. She is probably gonna be the future of the Tigers.”

After Maston’s handcuffing of the Panthers’ offense, the Tigers continued to pound the ball. They tacked on three more home runs, including Arrieta’s second two-run shot of the game in the fourth.

Diaz said Arrieta has been struggling at the plate with poor mechanics and impatience, but he thinks her performance of five RBI on 3-for-5 hitting with three runs scored has pulled her out of the her slump. Diaz added that great things happen when you wait for your pitch, which is what Arrieta did all game.

Junior Roxanne Zich added more firepower coming off the bench for the Tigers. Zich doubled and homered to go with three RBI and two runs after taking over at second base.

After the doubleheader, Diaz said he wasn’t sure what game he was more impressed with by his team.

“In the blowout we got our sticks going. We waited for our pitch,” he said. “But in the first game, we showed a lot of heart.”

The Tigers play a doubleheader starting at 10 a.m. today at Kronkright Complex against Durango.


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