Central Arizona College played two minute by minute games Friday and Saturday against DII Mesa Community College, the first at home and the second in Mesa.
Game 1 Friday in Coolidge
Widell threw six innings giving up only two earned runs and striking out six, and the baseball game was tied when he left and Gio Lopez entered in the seventh. Lopez got his out and with runners on first and third, two gone, in comes Bradley Gonzales and on the first pitch was called for a balk, scoring what would be the winning run. Gonzales then got the next out. Three of Mesa's runs came in odd sequences, Andrew Chartrand lost a ball in the sun, a run scored when a pick throw from catcher Chris Diehl zipped into right, and then the balk.
Central had a shot for at least the tie in the ninth when Pikai Duque-Winchester ripped a missile-liner to third base with runners on first and second and one out. It's a catch and a double off of pinch runner Makoa Rosario at second. That all happened in about one second.
Brent Bailey knocked in Chartrand after he doubled, he also scored and had another hit, Pikai had two hits on the day, and Matt Kroon and Alix Garcia drove in the two other Central runs. Roger Varela hit a triple but nothing came of it. Nick Trogerlic-Iverson threw a spotless 1.2 to close out the game and Central lost 4-3.
Game 2 Saturday at Mesa
Grant Townsend started and went eight innings in the second game on Saturday, same recipe, doing what Townsend does. Mixing up sliders, fastballs and changes, giving up only one earned run and striking out eight. It's simple, but when you have it, you have it, and it almost doesn't matter what pitch you throw.
"You can't say enough about Grant" said head coach Anthong Gilich. "He's been just great."
Rosario tripled with one that had a chance into right-center in the third, and scored on lead-off hitter Brent Bailey's sacrifice fly. With the game tied 1-1 in the seventh, it was safety squeeze time. With runners on first and third, Rosario bunted to the pitcher but the runner Roger Varela couldn't advance and the Mesa pitcher threw the ball into right field looking for the out at first. Varela trotted home and Central went up 2-1. It's amazing how those little bunts that go seventeen feet end up 300 feet away. Varela went 3-3 in game two.
In Mesa's bottom of the ninth with Central leading 2-1, in comes Peyton Remy who was available, and after the first batter walked and was advanced, the second out was a ground out on a very tough ball to SS Devin Ray who made a fabulous grab deep and threw a strike to first, runner to third.
With two out, Mesa attempted a steal of home to tie the game. The batter's swing on the Remy fastball hit catcher Chris Diehl in the arm near the elbow, but Diehl still caught the ball for the easy tag out at home and that's the game. There was a quick post game discussion about the "batter's swing", but the game was over, let's go home and get ready for the next week. Winners make plays like Diehl did. What a focus.
You'd think the swing would have been either a dead ball and the runner goes back to third, or possibly a hitter's interference, but Blue said nothing. It's a judgement call after all.
"Once we get those little things sorted out, the timely hits, making the fundamental plays consistently, we'll be ok. We're in a good position now, a half game out of fourth, three games away from second and hosting" added Gilich.