Special to West Valley Preps
No. 17 Raymond S. Kellis did the little things successfully and defeated No. 15 Phoenix Sunnyslope 6-0 at Salt River Field at Talking Stick in Scottsdale Tuesday.
The Cougars manufactured runs in all but one of their six innings at bat.
The Cougars got leadoff hitters aboard in the first, second, third, and fifth. five of their six runs batted in came on sacrifice groundouts or sacrifice fly-outs deep enough.In a professional ballpark that seemed easy enough.
One run in each of the first three innings, two in the fifth, and one for good measure in the sixth is a good recipe for winning baseball. The offense has been dormant all season.
Senior Adrian Salazar provided the rest at least defensively. The ace was able to just play catch from there. He scattered five hits and struck out nine in the complete game shutout. Also reaching base all four times he went to the dish.
Coach Michael Deardorff said he was glad the kids got some exposure in a big league stadium but focusing on Apollo and McClintock was on his mind foremost.
It was a pivitol win in the grand scheme of the 5A Metro Region picture. The Cougars (14-8, 5-2) by default can control their own fate in a tight section also including Apollo and Tempe McClintock in thick of it. Deardorff didn’t want to elaborate much on that.
“It’s a four-team race but if we win out we take it,” stated Deardorff. “Adrian has been our senior captain and leader. He set the tone early with the ball off the wall(a triple) and throwing strikes.”
Salazar went 3 for 3 at the plate with a walk. If the pitching effort wasn’t enough motivation for the rest of his squad.
Vikings’ ace Jeff Gehr was shelled unexpectedly. He entered with a 1.88 ERA. The Cougars were able to solve him in each inning for something.
Twelve hits and six runs is a step in the right direction. Hosting a playoff game is the focus after the region.
“I think it’s a huge deal. We were fortunate to host one last season and the kids want to experience that again. The double-elimination format (if we get there) sets up for us. We have five or so arms ready for a chance in the tournament. Having played quality competition in our Region will prepare the kids for that moment,” added Deardorff.
Johnathan Ornelas had two singles to help. The senior also contributed the initial and final runs batted in.
The two square off again Thursday at Sunnyslope.