When the going gets tough right?
Nobody could wait to see who was left standing after the regular season final weekend of double-headers, being as five teams were going for the final three play-off positions. Cochise College had secured the regular season title before the weekend started and let's see who the final three would be.
The tough get going.
It was great in that all teams in the play-off race needed to sweep their double-headers this past week-end and they all did.
"Sweep and we're in" the head coach had said before this double header.
South Mountain, Arizona Western, Yavapai, and Central Arizona all swept. It was Central that had the tallest order in having to win both at home against regular season conference winner Cochise, and they did just that.
Not even tight baseball games. Central took both with scores of 12-6 and 7-1.
"Huge wins! Really proud of the guys!" said the head coach Anthony Gilich (please note the elusive head coach exclamation marks).
"To win seven in a row and five against play-off teams isn't easy. The offense came alive, the defense played well and we got the pitching we needed today."
I say what I always say.
When it counts, winners win and losers lose.
In game one, Jonathan Stroman (cousin to Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher) had a tough first inning giving up four earned runs but the coaches know what he can do and Stroman settled nicely for the next two innings before being lifted in the fifth with the game tied at six. From there it was a whole lot of nothing from Zane Strand. Strand finished up the final three innings giving up one single, and the Central bats popped giving the Vaqueros the 12-6 win.
Central rapped 17 hits in seven innings, which included the entire starting line-up each with hits. Zach Hogueisson is on fire and he went 4-4 with two doubles and a triple. Catcher Jake Meyer and third baseman Ian Raidy (also on fire) both doubled. You can add triples from Brennan Reback and Matt Aribal (also on fire). Never slumping Ernny Ordonez singled twice, drove in two and scored twice.
"Meyer has caught every game of the last 15 or so and I was afraid he would tire out, but he's getting better" added Gilich.
In game two, it was the exciting Dakota Donovan and how about 7.1 innings pitched with eight strikeouts and a walk. Three hits and zero earned runs.
Sterling is the word. When the going gets tough.
The conference Region I play-offs start Thursday and run through the weekend. Central takes the fourth seed and Yavapai the third seed with the tiebreaker. The two split their season series at 2-2 and the tie-breaker is record versus the top seed. Central split the regular season with Cochise and Yavapai took three of four.
Central travels to Cochise Thursday for the first round, which is best of three.