Bats go silent at state tourney for MV, Window Rock baseball teams
By Quentin Jodie
SURPRISE, Ariz., May 2, 2013
(Special to the Times - Dustin Hughes)
In baseball, the best way to move runners around the bases is to have a potent hitting attack.
For much of the season the Monument Valley Mustangs were blessed in that department.
But on Tuesday afternoon they had trouble putting the ball in play as they came short, 4-0, to No. 18 seed Scottsdale Coronado in the first round of the Arizona Division III state baseball tournament in Surprise, Ariz.
"We left too many runners on base," Monument Valley coach Fred Todachine said. "We did not make any contact at the plate to move our runners, especially with our bunts.
"I called out a few squeeze plays but they did not come through," he added. "Our batters were missing the ball and you can't have that especially when you play a good caliber team (like Coronado)."
The Mustangs were not the only team that lacked consistency at the plate as the Window Rock Scouts were held to two singles in their game against Bisbee as the Pumas advanced with an 11-1 win, in a game that went five innings.
"Their pitcher did a good job of getting ahead early," Window Rock coach Mark Fransen said of Bisbee pitcher Manny Ramirez. "He got ahead early and he was able to throw us out with junk."
With Ramirez dictating the mound, Fransen said his players were tentative as they swung at every curveball that he threw near the strike zone.
Ramirez finished the game by retiring 15 batters including eight on strikeouts.
The Scouts got its only run in the top of the second as Trevor Shirley led off the inning with a single. On the very next play, Window Rock catcher Piazza Bowman got on base with an error, pushing Shirley into second.
Shirley then stole third and came home on a sacrifice grounder by Jason Kaulity. In that same sequence Bisbee produced the game's only double play.
"That was big momentum killer but that was a good RBI," Fransen said. "We ask guys to hit right side when we got a runner on third and I credit Jason for staying on it."
According to Fransen, the biggest thing they couldn't do was "pile enough hits together."
"That first inning was the turning point," he said. "Our leadoff hitter ropes one to left, steals second and we bunt him over and were sitting great.
"But we came out with a goose egg and (Bisbee) pitched their way out of that and it shut us down," he added. "That speaks volumes about their defense and their competitiveness."
In addition, the Window Rock coach said they had a tough time closing out the second and third inning as Bisbee carved out nine runs after the Scouts cut the lead down to 2-1.
"You can't give talented teams like that extra opportunities," Fransen said. "We couldn't seem to make the plays to get out of the inning or make the pitch to get them out. That seemed to be the one thing that nagged us but I have to credit Bisbee for that."
While Bisbee consistently put the ball in play against Window Rock, the Mustangs were befuddled with errors in their game with Coronado.
For the most part Monument Valley ace pitcher Redmond Delmar held his own inside the pitching circle by coming up with 13 strikeouts but four fielding errors by the designated home team led to three unearned runs.
"We didn't execute and you can't win ballgames by committing all that kind of stuff," Todachine said. "Red pitched a good game but we have to back him up.
"I don't know what happened but it wasn't our day," he added. "We weren't ready to play."
Nonetheless the Mustangs gave Coronado a scare in the third and fifth inning by putting two runners in scoring position.
"A couple of times Keanu (Mitchell) came up and hit it right to the second baseman," Mitchell said. "If we caught a few breaks maybe we could have put some pressure on them."
Offensively, Delmar led the Mustangs as he went 2-for-3 at the plate with two singles while Lorenzo Tso and Darian Farley came up with one hit each.
With a majority of the players coming back, Todachine is expecting big things for next season.
"It was a fun ride and obviously this was one of the best seasons we had at MV," Todachine said. " "But we're not done yet. Next year we'll be solid and you know I was pleased with the performanceÉ A lot of hard work got us to this point."