Yuma Catholic gets into groove in time for game two
It took Yuma Catholic six innings to find its hitting groove.
The host Shamrocks split two games on Friday in their Spring Classic, falling to Holtville 8-5 and then defeating Northwest Christian 12-2.
In other tournament action, defending champion Palo Verde beat Round Valley 8-4 and Northwest Christian 9-3 while Gila Bend topped Northwest Christian 19-9. The Round Valley-Holtville, Imperial-Desert Christian and Palo Verde-Gila Bend matchups were unavailable at press time.
In the Antelope pool, the Rams lost to Desert Christian 9-8 and El Centro-Central 8-3. Parker defeated Central 17-6, but lost to Imperial 9-3.
Neither the Shamrocks, who won three of five tournament games, nor the Rams, 1-3 in play thus far, will have a chance at the championship. Yuma Catholic will play in the third-place game at 11:30 a.m. on Field 3, while Antelope will play in the fourth-place game at 11:30 a.m. on Field 4.
Yuma Catholic (7-2-1) found itself in an unusual position in its game against Holtville - trailing big. The Shamrocks were down 8-1 after four innings and trailed 8-2 heading into the top of the sixth (and last) inning, because of the time limit.
That's when Yuma Catholic - 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and seven left on base to that point - caught fire. RBI singles by Eddie Padilla and Ryan Van Horn cut Holtville's lead to 8-4 with nobody out and runners at first and third.
First baseman Lance Carter singled to left to bring home Ryan Dague, but Van Horn was thrown out trying to take third on the hit. Holtville southpaw Joel Hilfiker, the winning pitcher, retired two of the next three hitters to end the game.
Hilfiker used his soft stuff effectively the first five innings, allowing only one hit and two runs despite walking seven. The last inning, the Shamrocks touched him for four hits, a walk, and three runs.
"We got aggressive in the last inning," Yuma Catholic coach Jeff Sanderson said. "We hadn't seen any lefties until the tournament. We were falling behind and then got too antsy."
Van Horn was tagged with the loss. He allowed all eight runs (three earned) in five innings.
Yuma Catholic didn't have any problems hitting against Northwest Christian, totalling 12 runs on 11 hits and going 9-for-16 with 10 RBIs with runners in scoring position.
"It's just night and day with us," Sanderson said. "Our guys can hit certain people."
Carter threw out two Northwest Christian runners at the plate, including the game's final out to preserve the 10-run, five-inning mercy rule victory. Both plays came after throws had gotten away from him at first.
"It's about not giving up and playing hard no matter the score," Sanderson said. "Lance really showed that tonight."
Padilla picked up the victory. He struck out six, walked two and allowed five hits and two runs (one earned).
Northwest Christian shortstop Mallard Leyman had to leave the game with what looked to be a torn ligament in his right arm. He was the second Northwest Christian shortstop to be escorted via ambulance to the hospital Friday; Jake Smith had to be carted off the field during the Northwest Christian-Palo Verde game after he was slid into at second base and suffered a separated shoulder.
Nick Taylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 782-6520.