At this point in the American Legion Western Regional tournament, the Boulder Post 10 baseball team is playing with house money.
Really, as the only team among the eight qualifiers that had not won a state tournament to get there, that has been the case since Wednesday. And after Friday's win over New Mexico Post 13 at Scott Carpenter Park, the Panthers' worst case scenario is breaking even.
Boulder took some lumps in a 22-4 loss to Hawaii late Thursday night, but the team came right back to post a 17-4 lopsided win of their own Friday afternoon — a game that was never close after Boulder plated six runs in the top of the first inning.
The tournament host is 2-1 and has made the semifinals, going even farther in the field than Colorado state champion Rocky Mountain.
"Now that we've beat two of these teams that were state champions, I think we underestimated ourselves a bit. Now we've seen we can compete, and we're getting some momentum," said left fielder Derek Cunningham, who had three of Boulder's 21 hits in Friday's blowout.
The Panthers needed to get something going early in the game to forget about the result against defending regional champion Hawaii Post 35, and the lineup complied.
They batted around in the first frame, getting run-scoring hits from Cunningham, Mason Hitz (2-for-5, two RBI) and Aiden Chandler (4-for-5, four RBI) as well as a groundout RBI from Jackson Dinkel. New Mexico's starting pitcher, Jarrod Potter, lasted just a third of inning.
That score-in-bunches mentality continued through the game with Boulder scoring five runs in each of the third and sixth innings. The Panthers executed simple swings at the plate resulting in 19 singles.
Isaac Parks, meanwhile, provided a big boost to Boulder on the hill. Though he induced 11 fly ball outs, the graduated senior threw a complete game eight-hitter, allowing for the Post 10 staff to refresh itself for a Saturday opponent that is yet to be determined.
"I'd say we really learned a little bit from Hawaii, because they could hit the ball flat out and we didn't have a lot of good pitching in that one," Cunningham said. "But we turned the tables and bounced back. It started with pitching and having Isaac out there."
Remaining teams include Arizona Post 7 (last year's runner-up), Hawaii and California Post 82 (San Mateo). Any rematches will be avoided in the semis, which are scheduled tentatively at 11 a.m. and 2: 30 p.m.
American Legion Western Regional
Boulder Post 10 17, New Mexico Post 13 4
At Scott Carpenter Park
Boulder 605 005 1 — 17 21 2
Albuquerque 000 101 2 — 4 8 4
W — Isaac Parks. L — Jarrod Potter.
Boulder hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Ben Davis 6-1-3-3, Brendan Van Haute 5-1-2-1, Jacob Katz 5-1-2-1, Jordan Wardell 1-0-0-0, Cooper Moore 5-1-1-0, Derek Cunningham 5-3-3-1, Mason Hitz 5-3-2-2, Aiden Chandler 5-4-4-4, Jackson Dinkel 3-2-1-0, Preston Stansel 0-0-0-0, Ethan Prout 4-1-3-4, Isaac Parks 0-0-0-0. Totals 44-17-21-16. 2B —Cunningham, Chandler.
Albuquerque hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Robert Herrera 4-1-2-0, Joshua Dolan 4-1-1-0, Carlos Ramirez 4-1-0-0, Martin Gallegos 2-1-2-0, Salomon Ware 3-0-1-0, Andrew Gonzales 1-0-0-0, Carlos Montoya 3-0-1-1, Josue Ruiz 1-0-0-0, Matthew Sanchez 1-0-1-1, Anthony Valdez 3-0-0-0, Isaac Samora 3-0-0-0, Jarrod Potter 0-0-0-0, Nicholas Barela 0-0-0-0, Josiah Acton 0-0-0-0, Christian Jojola 0-0-0-0. Totals 29-4-8-2. 2B — Sanchez. SB —Herrera.
Boulder pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Parks 7-8-4-1-3-3.
Albuquerque pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Potter 0.1-4-6-6-2-1, Barela 3.2-8-5-3-1-4, Acton 1-5-5-5-1-0, Jojola 2-4-1-1-0-3.