By Greg Perkins
It wasn’t the cleanest of games by either team, but both the Mogollon Mustangs and the Roadrunners provided quite a bit of excitement for Holbrook’s home baseball opener on Tuesday afternoon. In the end, the Birds edged the visiting Mustangs, 12-11.
After each team matched the other with single runs in the first, the Roadrunners bested Mogollon’s two second inning runs with four of their own. The Mustangs chipped one of those away in the third, then temporarily took a one-run lead with two runs in the top of the fourth. In the home half of the inning, the Birds again scored four times, building a three-run cushion.
Both teams took the fifth and sixth innings off from scoring, but in the top of the seventh it appeared the visitors had gained the upper hand, surpassing the Roadrunners’ lead with five runs. Not to be outdone, the Birds fought back and tied the game with two in the seventh, forcing extra innings with an 11-11 tie.
Holbrook shut down Mogollon in the top of the eighth, then loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning. With the bases loaded Jesse Spangler was hit by a pitch, moving Buddy Wagoner home from third to score the winning run in the 12-11 final.
The two teams matched each other with nine hits each. They also combined for 17 errors, with Holbrook counting for 10 of those. The Birds stranded 14 runners, while the Mustangs left 10 on base.
Nikko Ferniza was credited with the win on the mound with two innings of work. He allowed four runs, only one earned, on five hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Carlos Quintana pitched three innings and gave up four runs, only one earned, on three hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Ray Searles also worked three innings, allowing three runs, one earned, on one hit with a walk and five strikeouts.
At the plate, Shawn Gillespie went one for three with a home run, an RBI and scored three runs. Jacob Baker was two for six, scoring twice. Spangler went two for three with a home run, five RBIs and scored twice. Ferniza was two for three and scored twice. Searles went zero for two, but had one RBI and scored once. Lanny Newton-Pender was two for five with two RBIs. Wagoner went zero for two, but reached base and scored twice, including the game winner.
Mogollon 121 200 50 11
Holbrook 140 400 21 12
With the win the Roadrunners improved to 3-4 on the season. They will play at Joseph City today (March 8), then host Winslow on Wednesday, March 13.
By Greg Perkins