Blanchard catches break as Coronado nips Cimarron

Coronado’s Chandler Blanchard has hit into some bad luck early this season, with hard-hit balls finding fielders.

So with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning on Wednesday, Blanchard hit it just beyond their reach.

The senior first baseman drove a liner over the head of center fielder Tyler Giovinco to break a 2-all tie and give the Cougars a 3-2 win over visiting Cimarron-Memorial.

“I was kind of nervous,” Blanchard said. “The game was on the line and I worked myself into a good hitting count. I got a good pitch to hit and I drove it to center. Good thing it got over his head.”

Daniel Ritchie, who stayed in the game after pinch hitting in the fifth, started the rally with a one-out double.

Miles Bice was intentionally walked, and one out later, Mike Maiello drew a walk to load the bases for cleanup hitter Blanchard.

“That was huge for him,” Coronado coach David Padilla said of Blanchard’s hit. “He’s been hitting the ball really hard, just at people, and finally he caught a break and hit it over their heads, which was nice.”

Cimarron took advantage of three Coronado outfield miscues in the fourth to score two runs for a 2-1 lead.

Josh Nuernberg lifted a high pop to shallow right to start the inning. But Bice lost the ball in the sun and it dropped in for a double.

One out later, Ricky Dorantes hit a fly ball to center that Brad Fogal made a diving attempt on. The ball was in his glove, but it came loose as he tried to show the ball to the umpire, and Dorantes ended up with an RBI double to tie the game.

Then with two outs, Logan Bottrell hit a fly ball to left. Michael Pollex initially charged the ball, then tried to reverse course, but the ball got over his head for an RBI triple.

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