By John Honell, Correspondent
The Nogales High School baseball team, written off early in the season after a 1-4 start and likely upset three Valle Vista League teams were ranked ahead of it, won its 12th consecutive game Monday.
The visiting Nobles (13-4, 4-0) got a clutch seventh-inning double from junior Adrian Guzman to break a 1-1 tie and the Nobles went on to record their second consecutive one-run win over Covina, 3-2.
“We started two freshmen and only have two seniors,” Nobles coach John Romano said. “Early in the season we made some mistakes and lost some games, but they’ve worked hard and have been successful. (Assistant coach) Don Montanez has been with me for 29 years and his hard work has made it easy for us to be successful.” To continue click thread.
The Nobles started their winning rally when Erik Gonzalez led off the inning and reached base on an error. Chris Lopez sacrificed and Alejandro Sanchez was hit by a pitch.
Colts starter Joe Wills got a strikeout but Guzman hit a 2-2 curveball to the left-field fence to score both runners for his first game-winning hit of the year.
“I was just trying to put something in play,” Guzman said. “I just wanted to clutch up for the team. He was throwing me a lot of curveballs today so I was looking for one. I got it and I hit it.”
That ruined an outstanding pitching performance by Wills, who gave up only three hits. All three runs were unearned.
He didn’t allow a hit until Sanchez singled in the top of the
fifth inning to drive in Gonzalez, who had reached base on an error.
“It doesn’t matter how young they are,” Colts coach Scott Root said. “When a Romano team plays, they play scrappy. They battled back and got the clutch hits and we didn’t.”
The Colts gave themselves a chance in the bottom of the seventh. Vinny Venegas and Nick Hynes had back-to-back, one-out singles.
That was it for reliever Caleb Rudusky. Gonzalez, came out from behind the plate to take the mound. He was the fourth pitcher used by the Nobles.
Anthony Moreno greeted him with a single to left, his third hit of the game, to drive in Venegas. Gonzalez, who got the victory over the Colts last Thursday, then got a groundout and a strikeout, stranding two runners and picking up his third save of the season. The Colts stranded 11 runners.
“Covina’s a good hitting team,” Gonzalez said. “They’re aggressive and swing at the first pitch. We try and be smart on the bases and at bat. We like to be aggressive and swing at good pitches and make the pitcher work a lot. This was a big win for us.”
The Colts wasted several chances on the basepaths.
Wills led off the second inning with what appeared to be a triple. Romano protested that he had missed second base and the umpire called him out.
“I thought he touched the bag,” Root said. “The umpire said he stepped over it. That kind of took some wind out of our sails. The errors let them win. They were all unearned runs and that’s fundamental stuff.”
The Colts scored first when Moreno doubled leading off the fourth inning. He came home on a two-out single by Mike Rios.
David Sepulveda and Andrew Carillo followed with singles to load the bases but Guzman came in and got a strikeout to get out of the jam. It was the only batter he faced.
“That’s been the story of our season,” Root said. “We have the most returning players but our seniors seem to think they can just show up and win because they’ve played for three years. We have to be intense from our pregame practice and not take for granted these teams are going to roll over for us.”