Criminals showing improvement; Kings post rout of region foe
Yuma entered the Cibola baseball tournament Thursday having lost three in a row and struggling.
The Criminals are leaving it on a roll.
Colin Penny's RBI single in the fourth inning broke a 3-3 tie and lifted Yuma (6-5) to a 5-3 victory over El Centro at Desert Sun Stadium Saturday in a battle of second-place teams from Pool A and Pool B. The Criminals, who opened the tournament with a 14-3 loss to semifinalist Las Vegas-Durango, recorded their third consecutive victory heading into a non-region game Tuesday at North Canyon.
Yuma defeated Las Vegas-Chapparal 8-2 late Thursday and Phoenix-Cesar Chavez 6-2 late Friday.
"We're playing as a team," Yuma's Joe Hare said. "We're not making errors. We're executing and moving runners over."
Added coach Brian Stephenson, "We made the right plays. The kids are having fun."
Brady Melton, who was 3-for-3 with three runs, hit a solo homer in the sixth for insurance. He also had a double. Johnny Enriquez added an RBI double earlier in the game.
Yuma dipped into its pitching staff to slow the Spartans. Robbie Jacobo started and threw the first 2. innings. Chris Pou got the last out in the third, then gave way to Juan De Los Reyes, who threw three scoreless innings for the win. Stevie Seale, who stole two bases and scored twice in the leadoff spot, tossed the final inning for the save.
Kofa 12, Phoenix-North Canyon 2
Kofa, facing 5A Desert Valley Region rival North Canyon in the battle of second-place squads from Pool D and Pool C, turned it into a rout.
The Kings scored in every inning and clinched the victory with five runs in the fifth, which turned into the final frame. Every Kofa starter except one had at least one hit and one run scored.
"I'm pretty satisfied," Kofa coach Richy Leon said. "We had a good game against (tournament champion) Centennial on Friday (a 10-9 loss) and we played well in one-run win (9-8) against Tuscon-Sunnyside.
"I'm pleased we stayed hot at the plate today," he added. "Hopefully, we're on the right track."
Kofa (7-6, 1-4) returns to Region play on Tuesday in a doubleheader at Paradise Valley.
Kings Bryan Casey, Alberto Fraijo, Brandon Sanchez and Matthew Fox all hit triples in spacious Desert Sun Stadium, which has dimensions of 345 feet down the lines, 385 feet to the power alleys and 420 feet to dead center. Fraijo led the squad with three RBIs.
Cesar Solano (2-2) complemented the offense with strong pitching. He allowed only two hits and two runs (one earned).
Rattlers (4-8, 1-4) starter Keith Hurley gave up six runs (four earned) in 2 1/3 innings for the loss.
Tuscon-Sunnyside 11, San Luis 4
The Blue Devils handed the Sidewinders a defeat in a match of third-place teams from Pool D and C. San Luis, which stopped North Canyon 9-1 late Friday, went 1-3 in tournament play.
FRIDAY'S LATE RESULTS
Yuma 6, Phoenix-Cesar Chavez 2
Yuma's Johnny Enriquez broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the seventh with an RBI single to help the Criminals topple the Champions in a late game.
Enriquez and Colin Penny scored once and drove in two runs apiece to support starter Jesse Bravo (1-1), who allowed five hits, struck out nine and walked one to earn the victory.
Juan De Los Reyes added an RBI single. Brady Melton scored twice, while Joe Hare and Robbie Jacobo added runs.
Nick Taylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 782-6520.