Centennial baseball continues midseason roll

By Jeff Edgington
Special to West Valley Preps

An extra week of non-league games allowed Centennial baseball to build up even more momentum entering Northwest Region play next week.

David Donohew went 3-3 at the plate Thursday, the last of which expanded the Coyotes’ lead to 3-1 in a pivotal bottom of the sixth inning. That’s all host Centennial needed to defeat Williams Field 5-1 in a 5A contest.

Centennial junior Michael Martinez prepares to deliver a pitch Thursday against Gilbert Williams Field in a 5-1 Coyotes victory. [Jeff Edgington/Special to West Valley Preps]
The Coyotes’ resilient efforts shown through again in the decisive sixth, as was the case in impressive wins against Scottsdale Chaparral and Queen Creek. The No. 8 Coyotes quickly responded. Thursday afternoon in their last at bats with four runs on four hits.
“I felt we had some bad breaks early with the double-play but we remained confident. We knew we could do something later in the game. We started that sixth with the bases loaded which was key having some good at bats, ” said Coyotes Head Coach Vince Castaldo.
The hosts plated one in the first on an RBI single from senior catcher JT Stanley.  For the next fifth innings it appeared that would hold up. Justin Vaught, the Blackhawks starter, eluded some trouble from there and treated fans to a pitchers duel.
As good as Williams Field escaping some Coyotes threats just as detrimental was their inability to produce with runners on base. The Blackhawks (4-13, 2-6 regular season) left six on base.
Junior Michael Martinez pitched six innings, allowed five hits, three walks, and struck out six to earn the victory.  Martinez improved  to 2-1 on the season.
Centennial (7-9-1 overall, 5-4 regular season), although early as far as polls go, sits in the coveted top eight.
The top 8 ranked teams will host the first round of the state tournament on Saturday April 29th. They also would avoid the play-in scenario teams ranked 9-24 will face April 26.
For the Coyotes it is about the Northwest Region right now. These tough non-region games should help Castaldo was quick to point that out.
They know Liberty is awaiting up the street and around the corner. Two other programs in Surprise have taken strides and could make playoff pushes as well.
“We are trying to put ourselves in position to compete with Liberty, Willow Canyon, Shadow Ridge and Sierra Linda. We feel if we play to our capabilities we can win a lot of games,” Castaldo said.
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