Yuma Catholic pitching trio shuts down Parker
Watching the Yuma Catholic baseball team play what amounted to a warm-up game before hosting a three-day, 10-team tournament this weekend made some observers wonder just how good it could be if they really played.
On Tuesday, the Shamrocks, sparked by six innings of no-hit pitching and a big early run, held on to beat visiting Parker 1-0 in as well a game as could be played.
Coming off a weekend where their offense could do no wrong, the Shamrocks (6-0-1) managed only four hits, two in the first and sixth innings, including two back-to-back singles in their initial at-bats by Lance Carter, who later scored, and Luis Tovar to score the game's only run.
"We had a great weekend hitting and hit like crazy, but Parker threw the right pitcher today and they kept us off balance. We were way out ahead of everything," Shamrocks' coach Jeff Sanderson said. "We were fortunate to get that early run the way we did because we could not hit much after that."
Parker starter Trent Beaver pitched the first five innings and was the key in keep his team in the game.
Heath Carnicom pitched the last two innings and aided in Yuma Catholic's hitting woes.
"We played great defense and our two guys kept them off-balance by mixing speeds," Parker coach Rick Chance said. "Heath is a faster pitcher than Trent and I think the change of pace kept them off-balance."
Parker (0-1-1), which tied the Shamrocks 3-3 last week, had a golden opportunity to tie or take the lead in the seventh when A.J. Venegas led off with a single and advanced to second on a steal of off Yuma Catholic's Ryan Van Horn.
Jose Carr added a single, putting a runner on the corners with no outs, and then things got interesting.
The Shamrocks picked off Venegas between first and second, while Carr could not advance.
Then two pitches later to Lionel Gonzalez, a second strike led to a pick-off of Carr, who attempted to come home on the throw and suddenly there were two outs with the bases loaded.
One pitch later Van Horn fanned Gonzalez...ball game.
"I knew we could get out of that without giving up a run," said Van Horn, who inherited the no-hitter in the sixth from starter Tom Linville and reliever Aaron Carter, who pitched the prior two innings. "We knew they'd come out aggressive and give everything they got and they made a couple of mistakes that ended up hurting them."
"Our defense has been playing so well and it's important to have a good one behind you," Linville said after picking up the win. "Today I was able to keep my pitch count down. It was like a bullpen today since I'm starting the first game of the tournament this weekend so the quick out and not pitching many pitches (31) helped."
So Sanderson, who used three pitchers in limited duty to save them for the long grind of the coming weekend and still got the work in they needed, likes what he sees.
"Our defense is as good as anybody," he said. "We've got mature pitchers and they are confident with the defense we have behind them and that allows them to be more willing to challenge hitters and go after them."