If you talk about a grind, this 2017 season was just that.
With a split of the season ending double-header with the conference leading Cochise Apaches, Central Arizona College clinched second place in the ACCAC D1 when South Mountain lost their Saturday double header to Arizona Western. The top four D1 teams compete in post-season play. Both Central and South Mountain finished conference play tied in second with 21-15 records but Central takes the tie-breaker. Arizona Western finished doing what they had to do to get in with a sweep and a dramatic 3-2 win in ten innings over South Mountain in the season finale. Arizona Western finished in a tie with Yavapai College for the fourth position, but won the tie-breaker, leaving last year's D1 national champion out.
#1 Cochise College
#2 Central Arizona
#3 South Mountain
#4 Arizona Western
The Region 1 play-offs start Thursday May 4th at Central Arizona with a best-of-three and play through Saturday if necessary. Central will be hosting the #3 seed South Mountain Cougars.
Survive and advance.
The Vaqueros dealt with almost a completely new team in 2017 and it took over half the season to figure out what works best, but Central started slowly, finished better, and when Saturday ended, they had second place, a position they hadn't been in all year. What a coaching job from this crew. There was an abnormal amount of injuries all season, an issue they still are dealing with. "Grind" really isn't even a strong enough word.
Horrible windy conditions in Mexico....errrr...Douglas AZ on Saturday, but the Vaqueros rapped 29 hits in winning game one 11-8 and losing game two 15-4. In game one Ryley Widell threw a great four innings and left with a 7-1 lead and Grant Townsend closed out with a scoreless final seventh inning for his third save of the year. Townsend finished the regular season second with nine wins and led the ACCAC in ERA with 1.34 (11th in country), striking out over 11 batters per nine innings. Townsend threw over 80 innings in 2017, and was consistently good all year.
Chris Diehl homered and had a hot finish at .301, Matt Kroon also homered and drove in thirty runs on the year. Alix Garcia led the team in RBI's with 38. Chartrand and Makoa Rosario led the team with 16 stolen bases.
Game one is Thursday and Grant Townsend gets the start.