Kofa hosts Chandler-Hamilton today for first place in Fiesta Region
The Kofa baseball team survived a late-game scare to beat visiting Chandler 7-5 and solidified a position in Fiesta Region tournament.
Down by five runs entering the top of the last inning, the Wolves (4-8 in region play) loaded the bases with no outs before Kofa brought in reliever Kyle Curtis, who had gotten his first save of the season Tuesday against Gilbert in a similar situation.
Curtis got two quick outs, then gave up a walk and a single to give Chandler three runs and a little hope. But then the Wolves' final batter flew out to center field.
"This was a typical Fiesta Region game. They're all like this," Kofa coach Billy Laguna said. "From one through six every team is tough. This was huge. We had to beat these guys (because they're at) the bottom of the region."
Kofa (17-7 overall, 7-5 Region) opened the game with three straight hits and took advantage of Chandler errors to score four runs in the first inning. The first two runs came when Tim Martinez's double - which the Chandler right fielder mis-judged because of the sun - drove in leadoff hitter Jesus Luna, and No. 2 hitter Edgar Ramirez scored behind him when the throw home was wild.
Later, Martinez scored on a sacrifice fly and Brandon Sanchez was singled home by Alberto Fraijo.
The Wolves were held to two runs and six hits for the first five innings by pitcher Tyler Shaddy, who also had five strikeouts. Chandler didn't make its charge until the last inning.
"They got tough players and everything, we just went after it today," said Kofa second baseman Edgar Ramirez, who went 3-for-4 with three runs. "We got a little pressure out in the end but we got it back."
In the Fiesta Region, where last week there were four teams tied for second place, Laguna stresses that every game is a challenge. And even though Chandler is last in the Region, Kofa didn't underestimate them.
"(On Wednesday Chandler) beat Mesquite 4-0, and they're in second, so that just shows you," Laguna said. "I knew that this team would be tough. I honestly think they have the most talent in the league...In any other Region they'd probably win."
Today, the Kings host Chandler-Hamilton, currently the first-place team in the Region. The last time Kofa and Hamilton played, they split a doubleheader.
"If we beat them, we're in first place," Laguna said.
Pauline Vu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6883.