There aren't many thrillers in the game of baseball, but this was one.
The starting pitchers for both sides threw more-than-commendable baseball games, both complete games, as Chandler-Gilbert gutted one out against the Vaqueros Wednesday night in Chandler, or Gilbert, or wherever they are.
Vaqueros SP Dakody Clemmer
Dakody Clemmer had his placement in command, but so did Coyotes pitcher Charles Bahn and this game game down to the eighth and ninth innings with Chandler-Gilbert hitting a two-out line drive with bases loaded juuuuuuust over the glove of leaping Vaq's second baseman Cooper Esmay in the bottom of the eighth. Two runs scored and this gave CGCC a 4-3 lead as Central came up for dramatics in the top of the ninth.
To start the top of the ninth, MJ Hubbs flied to deep center and in a terrific at bat, Cooper Esmay was caught swinging with a Bahn breaking pitch low and outside for the second out. This particular at bat was a classic baseball battle, and because of it's timing, perhaps the best confrontation of the game. Foul ball after foul ball, close ball after close ball, and the final strike. Esmay trotted back to the bench with head held high, and it's never over 'till it's over.
With two outs, Jake Brown ripped a sailing, slicing line-drive into the left-center field gap for his second double and head coach Anthony Gilich replaced Brown with pinch runner Josh Ethier. Caleb Henderson then hit a hard bouncer into the gap in the left side, the CGCC shortstop made a nice stop and decent throw but you knew he had no chance at Earl and he didn't. Safe at first. Ethier was running on contact, never stopped, and was thrown out bang-bang at the plate for the final out.
The Vaqueros had two runners thrown out at home this night, and this is Vaquero's baseball. It was said at the beginning of the year this team would run, be aggressive, cause basebath chaos, and demand defensive perfection. That's what they did.
Hats off. To the third base coach, the head coach, Josh Ethier, Earl, Brownie, and CGCC for defensive perfection on this play, where everyone did everything right. Thriller. If you had to lose a ball game, this is the way to lose.
Colby Hamilton hit one into the CGCC dirt field in the third inning to give Central a 1-0 lead, and Aldo Koutsoyanoupulos (takes five minutes type) hit a right side single in the fifth to get the Vaq's a 3-0 lead. CGCC scored twice in the bottom of the inning and it was 3-2 heading into the eighth.
Blade can be reached at: email@example.com