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Nowlin leads Raiders past Kings
After losing leads late in games, the Cibola baseball may have finally turned a corner.
As for a slumping Kofa offense, the Kings remain stuck on the same street.
Cibola starter Ryan Nowlin got the best of Kofa's Josh Pauly in a low-scoring, 3-2 Raider home win Friday.
It was the second non-region win in a row for the Raiders over a Gila Valley foe after winning in San Luis Tuesday. That was a close game until Cibola got two in its half of the seventh for a five-run cushion.
The Raiders never got that cushion Friday, scoring the first three runs, then giving two back in the top of the fourth. But neither Nowlin or Pauly gave up another run over the final three innings.
"You need to win some of those games once in awhile to get some momentum," Cibola coach Duane Evans said. "It's nice to win a game like we did 6-1 (against San Luis) where we kind of pulled away. It's also nice to win a 3-2 ballgame with all those emotions on the line both ways."
The Kings threatened in the top of the seventh when No. 9 hitter Brandon Kane laced a double off the left field wall. Rafael Morales came in to pinch run for him with Timmy Lee at the plate. Lee missed a bunt attempt, then Cibola catcher Jose Castillo threw behind Morales at second to pick him off. The next two batters grounded out, ending the game.
"That was the game for us," Nowlin said. "We needed that, and he picked me up. Reliable catcher."
Cibola got three singles to start the second, the last an RBI hit from Tyler Parmenter. Braden Easley added an RBI single in the inning, then in the third Krysthian Leal led off with a double and scored on a Martin Chacon single.
Kofa - playing without one of its top hitters, Sergio Sanchez, who was out with a minor injury - got two back in the fourth when Cesar Valenzuela walked and Simon Corea doubled. Mario Rivera singled home Valenzuela, then Corea scored on a double play.
But it was the only two runs the Kings would score. They haven't scored more than two runs in any non-tournament game this year as they fell to 2-3 with the loss. Cibola improved to 3-0 in power point games.
"You can pinpoint a lot of little things here and there," Kofa coach Richy Leon said. "Leaving runners on third here or there, that baserunning mistake there is going to be glaring cause it was toward the end, but it's the way we're going about it right now from the first inning on.
"I can't tell you. We've been working on that, focusing on that in practice, trying different things," Leon said. "We're not striking out a bunch, but we're not able to get through the baseball it seems like. Like everything positive or negative, it gets contagious. We're trying to search for some answers."
Pauly, in six innings, gave up eight hits, all in the first three innings. He retired 10 of the last 11 batters, allowing just a walk to Nowlin in the sixth, the only walk in a game in which he hit two batters. Nowlin retired the first six batters and allowed just four hits. He walked two, hit a batter and had two strikeouts in the complete game.
"We knew he would come out and throw strikes and be competitive," Evans said. "That's what we wanted. If the pitcher can keep the score down to give us an opportunity to win, we had a good day."
Chacon was the only player with more than one hit in the game, although Nowlin reached twice.
"It was big to get this 'W,' especially against Kofa, our rivals," Nowlin said. "It definitely means a lot, even more than those points to get us to state."