The 11-day delay was worth it for the Woodland Park baseball team.
Due to snow, ice, cold, a bomb cyclone and myriad other issues, the Panthers were delayed nearly two weeks in playing their season opener. When they finally took to the field March 18 at Sand Creek, Woodland Park returned to the City Above the Clouds with a 14-4 victory.
“It was a good day,” said Panthers’ coach Neil Levy. “We were the better team today, and we went out proved it.
“It was great to finally get outside and play. We’ve been inside since January. That was getting a little old.”
Woodland Park batters rapped out eight hits, led by two each from seniors Caleb Elliott and first-year varsity player Julian Vega, a soccer star for the school.
Vega and sophomore Cameron Chase had three RBIs each, while senior Michael Shrum drove in two.
Sophomore Matthew Lecky picked up the victory, allowing three hits and three earned runs over 3 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked two.
Lou Levy worked the final 2 2/3 innings for the save.
The Panthers continued their road journey last week by heading south to Pueblo, where they lost 8-6 to South and 5-1 to County.
“Those Pueblo teams are usually pretty good,” Levy said. “They have some good ballplayers down there.”
The road warrior Panthers are in Phoenix this week, playing in the Greenway Festival for a third consecutive year. They will play four games against teams from three different states.
“This is great for the kids,” Levy said. “They get to play baseball on some great fields against some quality teams in warm weather, It doesn’t get better than that.”
The Panthers took a caravan to Phoenix Saturday in multiple vehicles. The first game was Monday against Thunderbird (Phoenix). They played Carlsbad (New Mexico) on Tuesday. They round out their trip with games against Greenway (Phoenix) and Saint Viator (Illinois).
During their time in Phoenix, they will attended an Arizona Coyotes vs. Chicago Blackhawks NHL game.
The Panthers return to Woodland Park following Thursday’s game with Saint Viator.
“We’d love to come down here and win all four games, but hopefully we can at least improve and have some fun along the way,” Levy said.
The Panthers will play their first home game next Monday against Manitou Springs at Meadow Wood Park. Two days later, they host Pueblo Centennial.
On April 4, Woodland Park opens Class 4A Metro League play at Mesa Ridge.
“We’re going to be playing a bunch of games from here on out,” Levy said. “It will be good to get into a rhythm.”