Dombrose pitches Kofa to District championship
Kofa coach Richy Leon showed faith in an untested pitcher.
The move was uncharacteristic for a game with the Yuma Union High School District championship on the line.
But as the first-year coach has set out to prove from the start of the season, this is a different Kofa baseball team.
Making his first varsity start, Jason Dombrose kept the Cibola batters off-balance for five innings and had plenty of help on the offensive end as the Kings claimed a 12-2 mercy-rule victory Saturday afternoon.
"He might be a surprise to everyone outside of the Kofa baseball program but we've known about him," said Leon. "He's been with the program all four years and has developed into a quality pitcher."
Dombrose gave up two runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out four Raiders for his first varsity victory.
The senior righthander mastered the Raider hitters with a steady four-pitch selection - fastball, slider, curveball and a knuckler - and with a heady pitcher-catcher relationship with Bryan Casey.
"I've seen him work and I know what he can do," said Dombrose of his battery mate. "I just trust him."
Casey kept the Kings (3-1) in the game behind the plate and supplied the game's first big hit with a grand slam in the second inning. Casey's opposite-field shot, his second grand slam of the tournament, gave the Kings an insurmountable 7-0 lead.
Kyle Curtis drove in the Kings' final four runs with a three-run home run in the fifth inning and a sacrifice-fly RBI in the sixth.
The Kofa offense touched up Cibola starter Kyle Moore for seven runs in two innings and pushed across five runs against reliever Jose Flores. Every Kings batter recorded at least one hit, as Brandon Sanchez led the team with four singles. Leadoff hitter Giovanni Garcia and Oscar Avila each had two hits.
Kofa's Alberto Fraijo relieved Dombrose in the sixth, retiring the side with 15 pitches to preserve the victory. Fraijo allowed a hit to Oscar Lemus before fanning Flores and inducing David Barrios into a groundout.
The Kings begin 5A Desert Valley Region play Wednesday against Phoenix-St. Mary's, while the Raiders (2-2) begin 5A East Valley Region play Friday at Mesa-Skyline.
Cibola coach Duane Evans was disappointed at the usually offensive-oriented Raiders' inept hitting.
"We've got to go back to the drawing board on hitting," Evans said. "We let (Dombrose) get away with his fastball. Our philosophy should be to take away the fastball. We didn't do that (Saturday)."
Lemus was the lone bright spot for the Raiders. The third baseman led off the second inning with a solo home run over the right field fence and had a double in the fourth, along with the single in the sixth.
Ross Priest can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6880.