The Woodland Park High School baseball team returned from its trip to Arizona last week after having gone winless in four games. But not all was a whitewash for the Panthers.
“At the end of the day, we got closer as a team,” said Woodland Park coach Neil Levy.
The Panthers’ off-the-field activities included taking in an NHL game and a Colorado Rockies spring training game.
Woodland Park played in the Greenway Festival in Phoenix for the third consecutive year. Its losses were to Thunderbird (Phoenix), 13-3, Carlsbad (New Mexico), 9-0, Greenway (Phoenix), 10-6, and Saint Viator (Chicago), 12-8.
“We probably gave up 20 unearned runs,” Levy said. “Against Carlsbad, all the runs were unearned.
“We didn’t hit very well. We didn’t field very well. We ran out of pitching.”
The Panthers’ record dropped to 1-6 after their road trip, and they now begin a very busy portion of their schedule. They play four games this week, and seven times in the next 11 days.
“A lot of kids will get opportunities to pitch,” Levy said. “This is a time for some kids to step up and shine.”
Woodland Park played non-league games against Manitou Springs and Pueblo Centennial earlier this week. The Panthers open the Class 4A Metro League portion of their schedule Thursday at Mesa Ridge.
They then play non-league games at Palmer on Saturday and at home against Coronado on Monday before getting back into league action Tuesday at home against Sierra and March 11 at Mitchell.
“The goal is to try and win the conference,” Levy said. “I doubt we’re going to make the playoffs based on our RPI.”
The top 32 teams advance to the postseason based on winning their league and RPI. As of March 30, Woodland Park was 48th out of 66 teams in the RPI standings.
The Panthers have three players hitting over .300: senior Julian Vega (.500, 7-for-14), sophomore Matthew Lecky (.421, 8-for-19) and junior Joey Babin (.391, 9-for-23).
Woodland Park is batting .346 as a team.
Caleb Elliott leads the team in RBIs with six, following by Vega, Michael Shrum and Cameron Chase with five each.
The schedule for all teams went from 19 to 23 games this season. The Metro League will play a crossover tournament this month into May.