By Greg Perkins
The Roadrunners went 2-2, but still finished third at the 16-team Wolves Classic held in Goodyear over the weekend.
Holbrook opened the tourney with a 4-3 upset over the host team, Estrella Foothills, on Thursday night. The Birds picked up a strong performance on the hill from Jesse Spangler and despite getting outhit, they only made two errors in the win. Spangler worked all seven innings, facing 33 batters. He allowed just the three runs earned on seven hits with no walks and notched 12 strikeouts. At the plate Spangler was zero for two, but walked, reached once on an error and scored twice. Shawn Gillespie was zero for three, but walked and scored a run. Jacob Baker went two for three, was hit by a pitch and scored a run. Ray Searles went one for two and had three RBIs.
On Friday the Holbrook squad suffered its first loss of the tournament, falling to Florence 5-3. The Gophers’ pitching allowed just four hits to the Birds and they played error free to win the game. Gillespie was one for three with two RBIs. Baker also went one for three. Adryan Fulton went one for two and scored once. Julian Garcia was one for two with a double, an RBI and scored a run. Buddy Wagoner went one for one, walked and scored once. On the hill Wagoner took the loss working all seven innings. He faced 32 batters, allowing five runs, only three earned, on 10 hits with six strikeouts and a pair of walks.
Friday’s second game was an easy win for the Roadrunners as they took care of Cortez 10-2. Holbrook played well early, scoring all 10 runs in the first three innings to seize control of the game. The Birds pounded out 10 hits and played error free on defense. Garcia was two for three, stole one base, had two RBIs and scored a run. Nick Robinson went two for four with two RBIs. Nikko Ferniza was two for four, stole one base, had an RBI and scored twice. Gillespie went one for four, walked once and scored twice. Baker was zero for four, but walked and scored twice. Spangler went one for four, stole one base, walked once, had one RBI and scored three times. Searles was one for three with two RBIs. Carlos Quintana was one for two with an RBI. On the hill Quintana went the distance, facing 27 batters. He gave up just two runs, both earned, on eight hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
Holbrook’s 2-1 mark in pool play was good enough to place the Birds into the final four, where they faced Buckeye on Saturday. After taking the lead with three runs in the bottom of the second they remained on top 4-2 with another run in the third. Buckeye cut into that lead with a run in the sixth only to see the Birds extend their cushion to three runs as they scored twice in the home half of the sixth. That lead wouldn’t hold up as Buckeye scored three runs in the top of the seventh to tie the game and force an extra inning. In the eighth the Hawks scored once, then shut down Holbrook to win the game 7-6.
Both teams connected for 12 hits and played solid defense, combining for just three errors. Holbrook left 10 on base while Buckeye stranded eight.
At the plate, Gillespie went two for five with a double. Baker was two for five with a RBI. Ferniza went two for five with a double and scored once. Robinson was one for two, walked twice and scored once. Garcia went one for four with an RBI and scored once. Lanny Newton-Pender went one for four and scored twice. Wagoner was one for three, walked, had one RBI and scored once. Trevor Barton went one for two with an RBI. Quintana was zero for one with an RBI.
Barton started and pitched the first six innings, facing 28 batters. He gave up three runs, only two earned, on six hits with one strike out. Ferniza pitched the seventh, giving up three runs, all earned, on three hits and one strikeout. Quintana pitched the final inning, giving up one run on three hits.
With their final tournament behind them the Roadrunners can now focus on their five remaining regular season games. Heading into this week they were 7-4 in power point games and comfortably ranked inside the top 24 in the standings, which would put them into the state tournament. They will play a double header with Valley on Saturday, April 13, in Sanders, then play host to St. Johns on Tuesday, April 16.
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By Greg Perkins