Wolverines outslugged by Eagles
by Casey Pritchard assistant sports editor
Tolleson got to see firsthand what it might be up against should the Wolverines make a run in the state tournament, which starts this weekend. On April
19, the Wolverines faced the current top- ranked power-points team, Sandra Day O’Connor, and got beat by a punishing offense that pounded out 21 hits, 15-8. Tolleson used four pitchers but could not slow down the Eagles. “We threw three sophomores at them and all three of them got a firsthand lesson in what happens when you throw the ball above the belt to a good hitting team,” coach Scott Richardson said. “That’s kind of end of story right there. We got some balls up and they hammered them.” Of O’Connor’s 21 hits, seven of them went for extra bases, and when the Eagles were aboard, they proved thievish by stealing four bags. “We didn’t have an incredibly good game behind the plate,” Richardson said. “I thought if we could have stopped their running game a little bit more than we did it would have given us a chance.” Despite O’Connor’s constant hitting,
Tolleson (21-7) managed to stay in the game up until the fifth inning. With the score 11-8, the Eagles delivered a crushing blow by scoring four times in the sixth to put the game out of reach. “It was just a matter of did I think we were going to be able to stop them,” Richardson said. “There are a couple arms I would have liked to have thrown, but down by three or four I’m not willing to sacrifice two games to try to pick up the win. By no means are we cashing it in, but we had three guys that were off limits. “With a team like Sandra Day, after they
View photo by Ray Thomas
TOLLESON’S ELIAS LUCERO delivers a pitch against Sandra Day O’Connor April 19. Lucero was tagged with the loss as the Wolverines fell 15-8.
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proved they’re not going to get themselves out, we needed to answer with somebody that could get them out, keep them honest with a fastball. There’s only one or two guys that can do that on our team, with Eddie Villa being one of them, and he was off limits.” Villa had thrown more than 100 pitches
two days earlier in Tolleson’s 7-4 victory over Phoenix Trevor Browne. Luck looked to be on Tolleson’s side in the bottom of the fourth when it scored twice to close the gap to 9-5. With a runner on third and nobody out, Hector Toledo got credit for a double and RBI when left fielder Michael Gonzalez lost the ball in the lights. The next batter was Isaac Parra, who slowly grounded a ball to first that hit the cut of the grass and skipped into right field for a single and an RBI. O’Connor proved to be too much though. It scored in every inning but the first and seventh, and had a six spot in the fourth that broke a 3-3 tie and knocked
starter Elias Lucero out of the game. “They’re a good-hitting team, they had a good approach, didn’t try to pull everything,” Richardson said. “The teams we’ve had success with in the past with throwing Elias, are guys that kind of get themselves out. They didn’t get themselves out.” Tolleson led only once, scoring a single run in the first inning on a Villa RBI groundout after Billy Wilson had doubled to lead off the game and was sacrificed to third by Johnny Garcia. Trailing 3-1 in the third, Tolleson tied the game on a Gabe Quintero run-scoring double and a bases- loaded walk to Wilson. However, after O’Connor’s six-run fourth the Wolverines could not mount any serious threats. “I was happy with the way we played with them offensively, we matched them until they threw the six spot up,” Richardson said. “Anytime you’re able to match it, and then they come back and put more runs up it’s kind of disheartening. But shoot, they’re good. I can’t take anything away from them at all.” Villa and Toledo each had two RBI to lead the Wolverines, while Wilson scored two runs. Nobody had more than one hit.
Coach reaches milestone Although Tolleson lost on Thursday, Richardson can still celebrate the fact that he won his 300th high school game the week before, beating Phoenix Carl Hayden on April 13, 10-3. Combined with his five years of coaching in Hobbs, N.M., and now at Tolleson, the benchmark victory meant a lot to Richardson. “It means I’ve been very fortunate to be around a bunch of good kids that lay it on the line every time they go out, that’s what it means,” he said. “It’s a tribute to the kids I’ve been fortunate enough to be around.” Richardson has a shrine at his house to reflect on all the student athletes he’s mentored over the years. “I’ve got kind of a baseball room in my house with all the teams that I’ve coached,” Richardson said. “I look back at all those kids and it’s kind of been an honor to be around those guys, and this team is no different. If anything they’ve proven they’ve been tremendous overachievers. In all reality we’ve got one senior that is going to play college baseball. The rest of them, they’ve embraced the team concept, put their egos aside and decided we’re going to do whatever it takes to scratch out a win.” Following Thursday’s loss to O’Connor,
Tolleson beat La Joya 11-0 Friday, improving its power-points record to 12-5. The Wolverines are currently ranked 17th with the top 24 teams making the playoffs. Their last game is at 6 tonight, hosting Carl Hayden. “I would like to think 13 [wins] is going to be good enough to get us in, but you just never know, this is kind of a work in progress with the new power-points system, no one has gone through it,” Richardson said.
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