The Green Valley baseball team plans on using it’s experience to drive them into the playoffs.
Senior Frankie Fitzgerald came through on Wednesday.
Fitzgerald pitched a complete game to get the win and went 3-for-3 with a double and a two-run homer in an 11-2 home win over Liberty.
The Gators (17-5, 12-1 Class 4A Sunrise League) carry 10 seniors on their roster and coach Corey Gehlken believes that’s what makes them one of the top teams in the valley.
“That’s why team’s are evaluated, especially at the beginning of the season, on how many seniors you have returning and how many players you have returning,” he said. “Because they’ve been there before and they can take the pressure of the guys that are brand new.”
Fitzgerald’s performance Wednesday took a lot of the pressure off his teammates as he allowed six hits and struck out two to get the win.
The senior got himself into trouble in the third inning after a pair of base hits and an error loaded the bases loaded with no one out. Fitzgerald was able to escape the inning with just one run crossing the plate after getting a pair of flyouts and a grounder.
“He had the one inning with a little hiccup where he lost his curveball for an inning but he’s one of our best guys,” Gehlken said.
Eight of the nine players in the starting lineup for the Gators reached base against Liberty (9-11, 5-6 ) with all but two players recording a hit.
“I think we started to relax a little bit and let the game come to us a little bit today. That’s about it, just finding holes and grinding out at-bats,” Gehlken said. “Our guys just let the ball come to them and got good swings on good pitches.”
Garrett Nelson was 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs for Green Valley. Austin Primack and Carter Gehlken each drove in a pair of runs for the Gators.
“Baseball is a huge momentum game and if you’re limping into the playoffs, in the back of your mind you know that,” Gehlken said. “Whereas if you go in feeling strong, you’re going to be strong. Our goal is to just keep playing better baseball every single day and just keep improving in any aspect that we can.”
Contact reporter Bill Slane at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4559. Follow @bill_slane on Twitter.