Chaparral senior pitcher Erick Villarreal had to get some of his own run support while throwing a gem Tuesday at Del Sol.
The Cowboys trailed 1-0 before tying the game in the sixth and using five runs in the eighth to take down the Dragons 6-1 in a key Sunrise League matchup.
Villareal allowed an earned run in the first inning but was nearly flawless afterward, striking out eight and walking two while shutting out Del Sol for the final seven innings.
“He’s really stepped it up the last three games, he’s been amazing,” Chaparral coach Dave Soto said. “He’s on a roll right now. I can’t think of any other pitcher that is as hot as he is in our division right now.”
It was Villarreal who finally got the Cowboys on the board with an RBI single in the sixth to bring home Robert O’Connor from second base to tie the game 1-1.
Then in the eighth, a base hit into right field from junior Antonio Vara plated a run to give the Cowboys their first lead.
Villareal’s curveball worked well for him Tuesday inducing eight groundball outs to go along with his eight strikeouts.
The fifth inning brought the best chance for runs for Chaparral to that point with a man on first and second with no one out. The Cowboys (16-7-1, 4-3 Class 3A Sunrise League) were turned away again by Del Sol (10-12-1, 2-5) starter Tyler Foreman, who struck out Rodney Elosegui and induced a double-play ball from junior James Cobian to get out of the inning.
“We’ve been struggling the latter half of the season. We’ve been missing clutch hits one after the other,” Soto said. “They’re pressing too much is what I’m thinking. That sixth inning I just told them to calm down. If anyone’s going to get upset let us, the adults, get upset. Because we don’t have to hit, we don’t have to pitch, we don’t have to field. We can get upset and it doesn’t affect the game.”
Chaparral gained a game on the Dragons in the division standings with the win, an important victory to try and keep pace with Moapa Valley and Boulder City in the league.
“Our division is so bunched that one game makes a big difference. Every time you win a game, there’s two other teams getting a loss, so it’s a double-whammy” Soto said. “We have to take care of business ourselves to begin with. We don’t want to go in through the back door, but it makes it less difficult.”
Contact reporter Bill Slane at email@example.com or 702-380-4559. Follow @bill_slane on Twitter.