The Middle Park High School Panther baseball season is in full swing and the Panthers currently have a record of seven wins and three losses overall with five wins and one loss in conference.
The Panthers led off the season with an 11-2 victory over the Sheridan Rams March 19 as James Gallegos and Stone McGuan led the team with two hits each. Ben Kuhnel received an opening win on the mound with seven strikeouts and Vinny Troccoli got his first save with four strikeouts.
In game two, the Panthers won an away non-conference game against the Lyons Lions by a score of 13-1. James Gallegos hurled a one hitter in his season debut on the mound and recorded five strikeouts. He was backed up by teammates Turner Bjerken, Gabe Loberg, Vinny Trocolli, Jacob Smith and Sebastian Brower all with two hits each. Aiden Roubidoux led the team with two RBIs.
Game three took the Panthers to Coal Ridge High School in New Castle where they lost their first game of the young season 3-2 in a non-conference game. Coal Ridge managed to squeeze two runs across the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning, taking away a Jacob Smith’s very well-pitched game. Smith only gave up one hit while striking out five in his season debut.
Next on the Panther schedule was the Summit County Tigers. Ben Kuhnel started on the mound and recorded six strikeouts, yielding just two hits to the Tigers. Turner Bjerken, James Gallegos and Jacob Smith led the charge with two hits each as Gallegos also led the team with two RBIs. Vinny Trocolli finished the game pitching and grabbed the win as the Panthers broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the seventh inning on a Jacob Smith run to win their third game of the year 4-3.
In a league game played at Denver Metro field, the visiting Panthers scored a 22-1 victory over the Arrupe Jesuit Generals. MPHS scored 12 runs in the first inning and never looked back. Pitcher Jacob Smith recorded seven strikeouts while only throwing 58 pitches to seal the victory. At the plate, Turner Bjerken, Paul Eichler, James Gallegos, Aiden Roubidoux, Jacob Smith and Jack Nance all batted 1.000 on the night as the team stats enjoyed a healthy gain all around. Vinny Troccoli ripped an in the park homerun as well to lead the team with four RBIs on the night.
In another conference battle, Middle Park enjoyed an 11-1 victory against the Jefferson Saints. Gabe Loberg went four for four at the plate and added six RBIs to his perfect batting performance. Turner Bjerken and Sebastian Brower both managed multiple hits for MPHS as well. Ben Kuhnel earned the victory on the hill for the Panthers surrendering one run on five hits over six innings, striking out 10 and walking one.
The third week of April proved to be the Panthers’ toughest week of the season as they traveled to Rifle and had a tough time defensively. James Gallegos took the loss for MPHS as he went three and a third innings, allowing seven runs on four hits and striking out four. Paul Eichler managed the only Panther hit on the day and they lost 11-2.
Later in the week, the Panthers fell short to Bennett 5-3. Ben Kuhnel took the loss for MPHS going four innings, allowing four runs on six hits and striking out five. Ethan Callerman went two-for-four at the plate to lead the team in hits as he and Aiden Roubidoux each had one RBI for the Panthers. Callerman also had a rare triple play in the bottom of the sixth inning. Too bad no one had a camera rolling. It should have made channel 9 sports highlights.
The Panthers got a nice workout raking and spreading sand and cat litter on a wet home field last Saturday morning as they prepped for a long double header round robin day at the Middle Park High School field against Platte Canyon and Bruce Randolph. They defeated Platte Canyon 20-1 scoring 16 runs in the third inning. All nine starters scored and were successful at the plate hitting. Vinny Troccoli led the bats going 3-for-4 with 8 RBI’s. Jacob Smith was the winning pitcher giving up just one run on one hit over four innings striking out seven.
Bruce Randolph couldn’t contain the Panther bats as MPHS cruised to a 7-1 victory in their second game of the day. Stone McGuan, Jacob Smith, Aiden Roubidoux and Turner Bjerken all enjoyed multiple hits in this game as Roubidoux went 3-for-3 at the plate and Bjerken grabbed two RBIs.
Many home games still on the schedule
The Panther baseball team has six more games in the regular season, with the next game taking place at home Friday, May 3 against Moffat County with the JV playing at 3:30 and the varsity playing at 5:30.
In an away game Saturday, May 4 the Panthers play at The Academy at 11 a.m. for the varsity and the JV at 1 p.m.
The rest of the schedule follows:
Wednesday, May 8: varsity against KIPP at home, 4 p.m.
Thursday, May 9: Aspen double header, 2:30 and 4 p.m. at home.
Saturday, May 11: Rifle at home, 1 p.m.
Monday, May 13: at home against Denver School of Science and Technology, 4 p.m. JV and 5:30 varsity.
Fundraising note for the Panther field
The challenges of playing baseball in a mountain town have been obvious this season with snow and moisture getting in the way of home games.
In an effort to address this problem of moisture and snow the Panther baseball team is looking at a banner program to raise funds to help with field repairs, which could help greatly in addressing the challenges of excess snow and moisture here in Middle Park.
For more information on how to contribute to this effort follow the team at middleparkbaseball on Instagram and Middle Park Baseball on Facebook.