West Valley View, Avondale, Arizona, Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Demons (From Page 12)
insurance for our team,” Miller said. “That was huge,” Erazo added. “Last year in the state championship game those runs we didn’t score cost us. This year we knew we had to get that insurance run. It was huge.” In last year’s state championship game Estrella never trailed until the final batter of the game, when Nick Johnson launched a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to give Blue Ridge a walk-off victory. The Yellow Jackets almost pulled the trick again, but their seventh- inning rally fell just short. Closer Ryan Ewing relieved Miller and hit the first batter of the inning, Nick Gorman, but he then got a strikeout and fly out. Gorman advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt from catcher Frankie Molina, and Trevor Gray’s single to center scored him, making it 6-5. Kevin Spencer then reached on an error and Yogi Macias walked to load the bases for Jacks. This time he did not deliver a slam, instead flying out to Zach Ruiz in left field to end the game. “It was relief, I took a deep breath,” Erazo said of the
final out. “That was a huge game for us. It feels good, but it’s just one more step to the big title.” Despite the two-out error, Ewing was unfazed on the mound, knowing his team would pick him up on the next one.
“I have trust in my defense,” Ewing said. “I just had to bear down and get the next one and I believe in them.”
Just as it did in the state championship last year, Estrella jumped on the Yellow Jackets early, putting up two runs in the top of the first. With one out Cameron McCubbins singled and Erazo split the gap in right-center for an RBI triple. Sam Williams then grounded out to shortstop, scoring Erazo to make it 2-0. “That was real important,” coach McCubbins said.
“We get a couple base hits, a real productive out. That’s something we’ve been working on all year because we went back to the state championship game and we missed three opportunities to score on balls down angle. We’ve been working on that and we go down angle all the time. We feel like it’s made us more aggressive and also more productive.” The Wolves got two more runs in the third on a
walks in the first inning and hit a batter in the third, but otherwise was flawless. His no hitter was intact until a bunt single by Danny Groebner led off the sixth. “I didn’t know about the no-hitter,” McCubbins said.
Williams bases-loaded walk and a Miller sacrifice fly, and Matt Frank had an RBI single in the sixth to make it 5-0. All the while, Miller was coasting. He allowed two
“You talk about all the superstition and no-hitters, we paid such little attention to that that we didn’t even know it.”
Miller finished the game allowing just three hits and four runs, three earned, while striking out 10 and walking just two. He threw 107 pitches.
View photo by Ray Thomas
“Real typical Zach, he has tendencies to get behind in counts or draw a walk or hit a kid, and he always gets himself out of it,” McCubbins said. “He has tremendous poise and comes in, gets the outs.” While the victory doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things — it wasn’t a power-points win — for Estrella it was a huge boost mentally. “For the boys, this game was still about last year,” McCubbins said. “The coaches, a little bit, but I think we’re more in terms of this year. But yeah, you bet [it was
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ZACH MILLER held visting Blue Ridge hitless for the first five innings of Friday’s encounter as the Wolves went on to defeat the Yellow Jackets, 6-5, in the opening round of the Wolves Classic.
big]. There’s the revenge factor, the feel-good factor, and we’ve been talking all week about this is our midpoint. This week is going to indicate how far we’re going to go or if we’re not going to get any better.” Estrella made it all the way to the championship game of the tournament, but fell to Verrado, 5-2. Estrella’s other tourney victories were over
Wickenburg, 6-4, Globe, 10-4, and Payson in the semifinals, 9-8. The Wolves will get another crack at Verrado, as the teams face off against each other at 6 tonight, at Estrella.
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