High school baseball coaches enter opening-weekend tournaments for a variety of reasons.
Some hope to take a look at a bunch of pitchers or give players plenty of at-bats against live pitching.
Centennial got a little bit more than that out of the Diamondback Kickoff Tournament. The Bulldogs played six games, five of them decided by one run, including a 7-6 win over Arbor View in Saturday’s championship game at Desert Oasis.
“That’s why we play this tournament,” Centennial coach Charlie Cerrone said. “There’s all great teams in this tournament. It’s well-run. And that’s why we play, to get this experience, because we need it.”
The Bulldogs went 4-2 in the tournament, winning three one-run games.
Things didn’t look as if they would be that close in the championship game, as the Bulldogs jumped on some young Arbor View pitchers for seven runs in the first two innings.
The Bulldogs got big hits from their two most experienced hitters: seniors Kris Bow and Austin Kryszczuk. Bow hit a two-run homer to right field in the top of the first, and Kryszczuk hit a two-run blast to left to highlight a five-run second inning.
Arbor View didn’t go quietly, as a two-run double by Jesse Pierce made the score 7-3 after three innings. Things got interesting in the fourth when first baseman Bow lost a chopper off the bat of Nick Cornman in the sun. The ball ended up in the right-field corner for a two-run triple, and Niles Scafati-Boyce singled home Cornman to pull the Aggies within a run.
But reliever Trevor Wright got the Arkansas-bound Pierce to pop out to end the inning. Wright threw 2⅓ scoreless innings of relief to get a save, striking out Cornman with the tying run at third to end the game, which was called after six innings because of darkness.
“Part of our inexperience is guys being in pressure situations that they haven’t been there before,” Cerrone said. “And this is helpful. We’re still not where we want to be. Hopefully we keep getting better as the year goes along.”
Centennial 13, Desert Oasis 10 — At Desert Oasis, the Bulldogs took advantage of 14 walks, including 10 in the first two innings, to beat the Diamondbacks in the semifinals.
The game was stopped in the bottom of the sixth inning because of the tournament time limit.
Rene Almaraz went 4-for-4 with a double, two runs and an RBI, and Sam Simon was 2-for-4 with a triple and four RBIs for Centennial, which led 9-2 after two innings.
Bow added two hits for the Bulldogs.
Jacob Walsh went 3-for-4 with a solo home run, and Aaron Roberts added a home run and two RBIs for Desert Oasis.
Arbor View 4, Liberty 3 — At Desert Oasis, Cornman went 2-for-4 with one double and two RBIs to help the Aggies defeat the Patriots in the other semifinal.
Steven Giatti pitched 3⅓ innings and gave up two hits and no runs for Arbor View.
Ryan Watkins came on to get the final out after Liberty had scored twice in the seventh to get the save.
Josh Rogers was 2-for-2 with one RBI for Liberty.
Chase Gallegos pitched five innings for Liberty, giving up two runs and striking out five.
Green Valley 14, Galena 8 — At Coronado, Scott Gruber went 2-for-3 with two doubles, three runs and two RBIs to help the Gators outlast the Grizzlies in a consolation game.
Garrett Nelson and Matthew Galdi each went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, and Gavin Malcolm was 2-for-5 with an RBI for Green Valley.
Cole Demosthenes was 2-for-3 with a home run, a double and two RBIs for Galena.
Rancho 11, Sierra Vista 11 — At Coronado, the Mountain Lions rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to earn a tie with the Rams in a consolation game.
Sierra Vista’s Dominic Lopez hit a two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game at 11. Lopez stole second and went to third on a passed ball.
After a walk, the game was called because of darkness.
Lopez was 2-for-3 with a triple and four RBIs, and Alex Chavira doubled twice and drove in five runs for the Mountain Lions.
Cris Verdugo went 4-for-5 with a double, two runs and an RBI to lead the Rams. Jairo Verdugo was 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs, Raymond Minero went 3-for-4 with a triple and two runs, and Carlos Chavez was 3-for-4 with three RBIs for the Rams.