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Wiley’s James Pearson slides into third base covered by Granada’s Terrence Hainer (#30). Wiley defeated Granada 7-1.
Monica Uhland

Wiley Enters District Tournament as Runner-Up Seed

By Betsy Barnett

May 3, 2023

In their first season out of the Rivals co-op, the Wiley Panthers have enjoyed tremendous success as they are carrying a 13-5 record and, even better, have won timely games that have helped to put them in a good position to go deep into the post-season.

The Panthers finished the regular season over the past week by getting wins over Springfield and Granada. On Tuesday, they would clean house with the visiting Longhorns defeating them 5-0 in the first game and then 3-1 in the nightcap. Then on a cold and blustery Friday, the Panthers were scheduled with a double header with Granada. However, just one game was played to determine the league contest and the Panthers came out on top, 7-1.

The loss for Granada put them in the basement in the District rankings. As the #8 team for this week’s 1A District 4 tournament the Bobcats will have to take on the top team in the league, Holly (15-4; 7-0) who are undefeated in the conference. This match-up will take place in Holly on Tuesday, May 2 at 4:00 pm. The winner of the First-Round advances to the Final 4 District finals in Las Animas on Saturday, while the loser’s season will end.

In the first game against Springfield on Tuesday, Case Nelson again threw a gem of a game allowing no runs and getting the win 5-0. The lefty sophomore from Eads lasted five innings on the hill for Wiley allowing two hits and zero runs while striking out six and walking one.

The Panthers got their offense started in the first inning when freshman Shaine Winder got on base with a walk. Nelson’s at-bat allowed Winder to swiftly move around the bases and score on an error by the third baseman.

Ty Michael, Brenden Reifschneider, Spencer Uhland, Johnny Vasquez, and James Pearson all had one hit to lead Wiley. Michael and Pearson each pounded out doubles. Evan Larrick stole three bases, while Winder and Reifschneider each stole one base. The Panthers were also sure-handed in the field committing no errors.

The nightcap was a little more interesting as the Wiley group had to come back from trailing, 1-0, in the bottom of the fourth inning.

In that inning Winder got them started on the right foot with a single to the right fielder. Michael moved Winder to second base on a groundout to second.

Gabrian Jacobs then tripled to center field scoring Winder. Larrick tripled on his at-bat scoring Jacobs.

The pitching on both sides was strong. Jace Parker got the win for the Panthers striking out seven, walking zero, and giving up 4 hits and 0 earned runs. Springfield’s Layton Jones sat down nine batters, walked zero, gave up 3 hits and 2 earned runs.

Winder, Larrick, and Gabrian Jacobs each managed one hit to lead the Panthers.

Granada came to town on Friday and the two teams played on a cold and windy field. Wiley won big over Granada, 7-1.

The Panthers got things started in the first inning when Johnny Vasquez drew a walk, scoring one run. In that inning, Winder walked and moved to second with one out. Spencer Uhland then was hit by the pitch to put two aboard. Larrick moved both runners up with a ground out. With two outs, Rhett McDonald came to the plate and took a walk loading the bases. Vasquez, the next batter, pulled a walk that brought in the run. Michael then hit a hard ground ball to shortstop scoring Larrick. Brenden Reifschneider hit in one run off a single.

Case Nelson was again the ace on the mound for Eads. Nelson went the distance of five innings, allowing three hits and zero runs while striking out nine and walking one.

For Granada it was Jose Sanchez who toed the rubber. Sanchez lasted one and one-third innings, allowed three hits and four runs while striking out one. Brandon Gonzales threw four and two-thirds innings in relief.

The Panthers scattered seven hits around the field. James Pearson and Michael each racked up multiple hits. Pearson led the Panthers at the plate in this contest with three hits in three at-bats.

Wiley is seeded #2 in the District 4 Tournament and will host La Veta (#7) at 4:00 pm on Tuesday. The winner advances to the Final Four in Las Animas on Saturday and will first take on the winner of Cheyenne Wells (#3) and Baca County (#6) in the semifinal round.

Wiley swept La Veta on April 4 in scores of 2-1 and 12-5.

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