The season is down to four games remaining and with two wins against South Mountain Community College this weekend, the Central Arizona College Vaqueros have moved to within one game of the second place Cougars with a dramatic 3-2 win in ten innings Saturday.
The ACCAC D1 Region 1 play-offs feature the first four teams, with the #1 seed hosting the #4 seed and the #2 seed hosting the #3 seed. The Vaqueros now sit in third, a game back of second place South Mountain and four games back of D1 leader Cochise. With wins in the remaining four games which include two with the Apaches, the Cowboys can still claim the D1 regular season crown.
With Ryley Widell throwing possibly his best game of the year, Central and South Mountain were tied at one after eight innings. Widell left after a full eight, striking out seven and walking one batter.
After the Cougars put a run on the board in the top of the ninth for a 2-1 lead, Central led off the bottom of the ninth with Matt Kroon who singled, pinch hitter Makoa Rosario laid down a nice bunt to sacrifice Kroon to second. Isaiah Garcia then singled to right to tie the game at two.
Central baseball. It doesn't matter who's up.
In the top of the tenth with runners on first and third and one gone for South Mountain, it was Devin Ray this time.
"It was a really tough play. The play of the game" said head coach Anthony Gilich. Ray started with a tricky pick-up and it was a 6-4-3 double play.
In the bottom of the tenth with the score tied at two, Andrew Chartrand, who went four for five in the game, flied out for the first, and only out of the inning. Roger Varela now. Varela singled, and with a full count, Gilich sent Roger Varela and Pikai Duque-Winchester ripped one to, let's say, center-right field, and with the slightest of bobbles, Gilich waved Varela home as he approached third and there was a play at the plate, safe all the way.
Central wins in the bottom of the tenth, 3-2.
Widell and Nick Trogerlic-Iverson held second place South Mountain to four hits on the day. And over the two game weekend set, the Central catchers and pitchers held the ACCAC stolen base leaders (by far) to not even one SB. Chris Diehl and Grant Townsend didn't allow a steal in the Friday game, and Garcia threw out two runners in Saturday's game.
The Vaqueros wrap up the regular season play with two against Eastern Arizona on Tuesday and two with first place Cochise next weekend.