PECOS — The Peñasco Panthers were only delaying the inevitable.
They arrived in Pecos just five minutes before their scheduled 4 p.m. game against the host Panthers on Friday, which pushed the start time back a half hour.
But the game still wound up being over in a hurry.
Peñasco yielded 16 runs in the first inning en route to a 24-1 loss in five innings against Pecos (11-6, 5-0 District 6-2A) in district baseball action.
The game already had been pushed back an hour because of a scheduling conflict.
“Traffic was heavy, so we got stuck pretty good,” Peñasco coach Henry Lopez said. “But at least we got to play the game.”
Which, he added, is a small victory for the rebuilding Panthers (3-11, 1-6).
“Right now we only have two players from last year, and everyone else has never played before,” he said. “We also only have one pitcher that knows the game — but he used his 12 innings already — so we’re struggling a bit with our pitchers.
“But we have 8-year-olds through 11-year-olds that are developing now. It may take several years, but you’ll see us compete again.”
In the meantime, Peñasco’s lack of an experienced arm came as no surprise as its three pitchers — Demasio Fresquez, Angel Gonzales and Malauias Romero — combined to yield 13 walks, hit five batters and give up 15 hits during a contest that was pretty much decided by the time Pecos batted around for the third time in the first inning.
Pecos coach Augustin Ruiz, however, said he understood Lopez’s plight, and instructed his players to try to make the best of a bad situation.
“Their pitchers struggled to find the strike zone, so we worked on staying disciplined enough to allow pitches that were out of the strike zone to get by,” he said. “… It’s just tough in a game like this to really work on anything.”
So, with an important doubleheader against Mora on Monday and a critical district contest against Santa Fe Prep next Thursday, Ruiz is going to use today’s practice to help his players get back on track.
“A game like this kind of screws your timing up,” he said. “So hopefully everything will be fixed tomorrow in the cage.”
Six-time defending district champion Pecos is one game ahead of the Blue Griffins (6-7, 4-1), who take on Monte del Sol (12-5, 2-3) on Monday.
“If we can sweep the doubleheader on Monday, that should give us a good start going into Thursday,” Ruiz said. “A lot will depend on what Prep does against Monte de Sol, but like what I’ve been preaching to these boys from Day One: ‘If we take care of our own business, we won’t have to worry about anyone else.’
“But it’s a big week district-wise.”
On Friday, Pecos was led by Devon Varela, who went 3-for-3 with a double and seven RBIs. Teammates Eric Varela, Scott Sanchez, Brandon Anaya, Manuel Vigil and Isaac Valencia each had two RBIs.