A game that started out as a pitcher’s duel turned into a 10-1 romp for the Nogales High School Apaches on Monday as they defeated the Verrado Vipers of Buckeye in the second round of the 5A Conference state baseball tournament in Tempe.
Verrado starting pitcher Cameron Hood set down the first nine NHS batters of the game – six on strikeouts. But he hit Ricky Maytorena with a pitch to lead off the bottom of the fourth and gave up singles to Jorge Bojorquez and Alec Acevedo to load the bases with nobody out.
After getting the first out of the inning on a strikeout, Hood then hit Kenneth Jimenez with a pitch to force home the first run of the game. He followed that up by walking Mario Duarte to force home another runner. Acevedo came home with the third run of the frame on a fielder’s choice.
Meanwhile, Nogales starting pitcher Matt Bachelier held the Verrado offense scoreless through four innings, striking out seven batters, walking four and allowing three hits.
Miguel Vega came on in relief of Bachelier to start the top of the fifth and gave up a run on a triple and a groundout, making the score 3-1. But Nogales scored twice more in the bottom of the fifth when Alec Acevedo capped off a 13-pitch at-bat by hitting a double to right to score Brayan Espinoza and Jorge Bojorquez, who had both walked.
After Vega set down the Vipers 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth, RBI singles by Espinoza and Maytorena, followed by a pair of run-scoring errors, extended the Apaches’ lead to 10-1 in the bottom of the inning. Vega closed out the game with a scoreless seventh.
No.1-seeded Nogales, which advanced to Monday’s game by beating Sunnyside 11-2 in the first round of the state tournament on Saturday, will now play No. 4 Desert Mountain of Scottsdale at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
No. 8 Verrado drops into the loser’s bracket and will take on No. 12 Sunrise Mountain in an elimination game Thursday at 4 p.m. at Tempe Diablo.
(Game details from GameChanger.com.)