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Parmenter leads Raiders past Hawks
For a kid who had never started a game before Saturday, Tyler Parmenter isn't doing half-bad.
Throughout his four years on the Cibola baseball team, Parmenter has made a name for himself in the batter's box and out at shortstop, but he's adding a couple more chapters to his legacy. In just the second start of his high school career Thursday, Parmenter shackled Gila Ridge and ended its season, tossing six-plus strong innings to lead Cibola to a 3-0 victory and the fourth round of the AIA Division II state playoffs at Desert Sun Stadium.
“It's an honor to go out here and pitch and that (coach Duane Evans) trusts me to pitch,” Parmenter said. “I just went out there and the defense took care of me.”
Parmenter needed to be at the top of his game, because his counterpart, Gila Ridge righty Ryan Householder, was just as dominant. But the two would be intertwined for the game's most crucial sequence in the top of the sixth inning.
With a runner on third and two outs, Gila Ridge intentionally walked Krysthian Leal to get to Parmenter. The move caught Parmenter by surprise but he delivered, drilling a single past Gila Ridge shortstop Marco Jaime to bring home Miguel Corral and break a scoreless tie.
“(Leal) has killed us for four years,” Gila Ridge coach Greg Osowski said. “I guess we just decided we weren't going to go that rout and it ended up backfiring.”
But Cibola wasn't finished. Householder's next pitch ended up at the right field fence, as Cibola catcher Jose Castillo roped a two-run triple to bring the game to its final margin.
“That's real big,” Evans said. “You go into the seventh inning and it's 1-0, anything can really happen. It's really nice to have that little cushion.”
Evans sent Parmenter out to the mound for the seventh inning, but pulled him after he allowed the first two Hawks to reach base. Oscar Elizarraras relieved Parmenter and allowed a runner to reach third, but was able to preserve the shutout. Though the last few moments were tense, it was all for naught, as the Hawks' milestone season came to a close.
Perhaps in a fitting end, Leal, the team's second baseman, flipped the ball to Parmenter, his good friend, for prep baseball's final out in Yuma this season. Cibola now stands alone as the only surviving team from the Gila Valley Region and will face No. 8 seed Goodyear-Millennium at 4 p.m. Saturday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Though he didn't look overpowering on Thursday, Parmenter was certainly effective. He worked his way around the plate and only allowed two runners to reach scoring position all afternoon. While he has already signed a letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Arizona next year, presumably for his skills as a position player, Parmenter has opened some eyes on the mound.
Evans said Parmenter proved he could pitch during tournaments last summer, and that Cibola was hoping he could eventually impact the team with his arm. Last Friday, merely 24 hours before Cibola opened the postseason at Phoenix-Pinnacle, Evans and his staff told Parmenter he would be getting the start.
“We didn't want to put him under the gun because we have kids that can pitch,” Evans said. “But we knew that he threw hard and potentially do something for us. It's just kind of nice it worked out the way it did.”
Though Parmenter and the Raiders lost to Pinnacle, the No. 4 team in the state, his 4 2/3 innings of work were enough to earn his coaches' trust.
Since the Raiders lost a 14-2 contest to Yuma High on April 26, Parmenter said the team has found its stride.
“You can just feel everybody is clicking,” Parmenter said. “We have a purpose. I like it, I like the feeling.”
While Gila Ridge's season is over, 2011 will surely be remembered as the season the Hawks turned the corner. Osowski has captained the team since the school's inception in the fall of 2007 and this marked the first postseason appearance in Gila Ridge history. After losing the GVR crown on the final at-bat of the regular season, Gila Ridge defeated Millennium in the first round of the playoffs before losing a 5-2 contest to top-seeded Boulder Creek on Tuesday.
“We knew it was going to end somewhere,” Osowski said. “But I told the kids how proud of them I am, especially the seniors.”