3/12/2013 10:26:00 PM Chino Valley baseball falls to Badgers, 11-1
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier/Courtesy
Chino Valley’s RJ Bell (L) scores while Prescott's Brian Smith (35) waits for the relay throw in Tuesday’s 11-1 loss against the Badgers. Bell was the only Cougar to cross the plate in the 11-1 loss to PHS.
Doug Cook/Daily Courier, courtesy
The 2013 season got off to a bit of a rough start for the Prescott High baseball team, but the Badgers seemed to shake off some of their rust against Chino Valley Tuesday at home.
Division 2 PHS dispatched the D-3 Cougars 11-1 in a run-ruled six innings, improving its record to 3-4 after this cross-area clash.
Leading 5-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Badgers batted around, plating six runs on the strength of a two-run single from Jacob Eder, a three-run triple from Mikey Pirante and a run-scoring single from pinch-hitter Jayce Cirzan.
Chino Valley starting pitcher R.J. Bell opened the sixth with two quick outs. But things unraveled quickly as Bell's arm began to tire. After giving up the hit to Eder, Bell gave way to reliever Josh Redfern, who faced only three batters before the game was called on the 10-run rule. Cirzan's RBI single signaled the end of the contest.
"We were able to put quality at-bats together, and we hit the ball hard and forced them to make plays," Prescott coach John Irish said. "We have speed throughout our lineup, so you can't stay back on groundballs. You've got to attack, and we really force teams' defenses to be very aggressive."
In his first start of the young campaign, Prescott sophomore pitcher Tucker Gilberston allowed only one run on three hits in 5-2/3 innings of work to earn the victory. He threw five shutout frames in place of senior starter Cade Jacobs, who was ill on Tuesday.
PHS catcher Brian Smith, who went 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI, praised Gilbertson's effort.
"His breaking balls were working extremely well, he was keeping his fastball low, and just getting a lot of groundouts," Smith said.
From the end of the second inning to the conclusion of the fifth, Gilbertson retired 10 straight Chino batters. He didn't begin to show signs of fatigue until the start of the sixth when he gave up a pair of singles and walked Cougars' four-hole hitter Spencer Coffin to put runners on the corners with two outs.
Ty Eder came on in relief of Gilbertson, walking the first batter he faced, Chino's Jeremiah Moeller, to load the bases.
With Prescott ahead 5-1, the Cougars had the potential tying run at the plate in first baseman Tanner Knight. But on a 0-2 count, Knight grounded out to end the threat.
"We had a good week of practice and everything. I thought they (our guys) were a little tight," Chino Valley coach Bruce Nesbitt said. "We didn't play good ball, and they (Badgers) took it to us today."
Added Bell, "This was a big game for us and everything, and we thought about this game for a couple weeks now. And I guess it just got to us and we just over-thought it and got nervous and couldn't execute the plays."
The Cougars (5-2-1 overall record) also struggled defensively, as three errors in the second inning alone allowed Prescott to pull in front 3-1 and seemingly gave the Badgers all the momentum they needed.
PHS scored 11 runs on only nine hits, four of which came in the game-ending sixth.
"We started off a little slow, but we've come together in the past couple games," Smith said of the Badgers. "We're just getting better, I guess."
Prescott will travel to Anthem Boulder Creek for a 4 p.m. game today before playing host to Youngker at 11 a.m. on Saturday.