Centennial’s seventh-inning rally on Thursday wasn’t particularly memorable.
But Anthony Martinez’s game-winning slide sure was.
Martinez scored the winning run on Austin Kryszczuk’s sacrifice fly to shallow center field with one out in the seventh inning, lifting the Bulldogs to a 5-4 home win over Liberty in the season opener for both teams.
“That’s an athletic slide,” Centennial coach Charlie Cerrone said. “He’s a heads-up kid.”
Martinez, a junior catcher, raced home when Liberty’s Kaeden Camat-Toki caught the ball in center field. Camat-Toki’s throw beat Martinez, but Patriots catcher James Katona had to move in front of the right-handed batter’s box to field the throw cleanly.
Katona lunged to his left to tag Martinez, who dived behind the plate, avoiding the tag.
Martinez ended up a few feet behind home plate, got up and dived head-first, touching the back of the plate before Katona could apply a tag.
“I saw the throw coming in and I tried to slide outside,” Martinez said. “I missed the plate, but he missed me. I tried to put the moves on him and be safe. I’m just happy we got the win.”
Martinez led off the inning with a single to left. He moved to second on a balk, to third on Travis Rice’s sacrifice bunt and stayed at third as teammates Rene Almarez and Trevor Wright drew walks.
“It wasn’t pretty, but the ‘W’ is pretty,” Cerrone said.
Kryszczuk belted a three-run homer in the third inning and Rice scored on a wild pitch in the fifth to give Centennial a 4-2 lead.
Liberty’s Ethan Safier had a two-out RBI single and scored on Zanden Shim’s triple to center in the sixth to tie the game. The Patriots had three runners picked off , another caught stealing and a fifth thrown out trying to stretch a single.
“We practice defense all the time,” Martinez said. “We were prepared.”
Green Valley 5, Centennial 4 — At Centennial, Scott Gruber’s two-out double in the top of the seventh inning plated Matt Galdi with the winning run as the Gators rallied by the Bulldogs.
Green Valley trailed 4-2 entering the seventh inning, but scored once on Max Leuga’s one-out grounder to third. Galdi then singled home Gavin Amelburu with the tying run and scored when Gruber doubled to deep center.
Gruber also worked out of trouble in the bottom of the seventh inning after Centennial put the first two runners on base. He got a fly out, a strikeout and a caught stealing to end the threat.
Garrett Nelson was 2-for-2 with two doubles and an RBI, and Gruber was 2-for-4 with two doubles for Green Valley.
Trevor Wright was 2-for-2 with two runs, and Sam Simon went 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs for Centennial.
Rancho 3, Galena 1 — At Centennial, Tanner Ray fired a three-hitter as the Rams beat the Grizzlies.
Ray struck out 13 and walked one.
Raymond Minero went 2-for-3 with a run, an RBI and three stolen bases for Rancho. Jairo Verdugo added a double and an RBI for the Rams.
Desert Oasis 15, Galena 0 — At Desert Oasis, Aaron Roberts went 3-for-3 with a home run, a triple and six RBIs as the Diamondbacks routed the Grizzlies in three innings.
Colby Smith was 3-for-3 with a triple and three runs for Desert Oasis.
Josh Sharman tossed a three-inning no-hitter and struck out five for the Diamondbacks. He hit one batter and faced only one batter more than the minimum.
Desert Oasis 11, Arbor View 1 — At Desert Oasis, Sharman went 3-for-3 with a double, two runs, and four RBIs to lead the Diamondbacks past the Aggies in five innings.
Campbell Holt went the distance and allowed six hits with four strikeouts to earn the win.
Roberts and Zac Czerniawski each had two hits for the Diamondbacks.
Nick Cornman had two hits and a run, and teammate Steven Giatti brought home a run with a sacrifice fly for Arbor View.
Liberty 17, Sierra Vista 1 — At Sierra Vista, Dawson Beard allowed a run on three hits in five innings, and the Patriots used an 11-run seventh inning to pull away from the Mountain Lions.
Beard allowed one run, struck out three and walked one.
Logan Meusy went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, and Mason Bowden was 2-for-3 with two RBIs for Liberty. Ky Yamamoto added two hits, and James Katona homered for the Patriots.
Sierra Vista 4, Bishop Manogue 3 — At Sierra Vista, Nate Blazek went 3-for-3 with a double and three RBIs as the Mountain Lions rallied by the Miners.
Zachary Kreithe tossed an eight-hitter and struck out for 12 for Sierra Vista, which trailed 3-0 before scoring once in the fifth and three times in the sixth.
Green Valley 17, Bishop Manogue 6 — At Green Valley, Matt Galdi went 4-for-4 with two doubles and four RBIs to lead the Gators by the Miners in five innings.
Garrett Nelson was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs, and Gavin Amelburu was 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBIs for Green Valley, which used a 10-run third inning to erase an early 4-0 deficit.
Ulises Perez tossed a five-hitter, allowing one earned run and striking out five, for Green Valley.
Arbor View 15, Coronado 5 — At Desert Oasis, Niles Scafati-Boyce went 4-for-4 with three doubles and two RBIs, and struck out three over four innings to lead the Aggies past the Cougars in six innings.
Jesse Pierce went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer and a double for Arbor View, which scored four times in the bottom of the sixth inning to end the game.
Nick Cornman had an inside-the-park home run, and Brad Stone went 2-for-3 with a triple and a RBI for the Aggies.
Josh Johnson was 2-for-2 with two doubles for Coronado.
Coronado 11, Rancho 8 — At Centennial, John Pashales went 3-for-5 with four RBIs, and the Cougars used an eight-run second inning to top the Rams.
Jett Kenyon was 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs, and Thomas Planellas went 2-for-3 with two RBIs for Coronado.
Adrian Gomez went 4-for-4 with a double and three RBIs for Rancho.