Gators’ bats come to life in two victories

The Green Valley baseball team was full of surprises Saturday.

The first came courtesy of the Gators’ suddenly potent offense. Bradon Rogers supplied the other stunner.

Green Valley’s patchwork lineup pounded out 14 hits, and Rogers took a no-hitter into the sixth inning as the Gators knocked off host Sierra Vista 13-5 in the Lions Kickoff Classic.

The Gators (3-1) defeated Centennial 9-2 earlier in the day.

“If you told me we would come in here and score that many runs, I would have told you you were crazy,” Green Valley coach Corey Gehlken said. “I’m so proud of them.”

Green Valley suspended five regulars before Thursday’s season opener for what Gehlken said was “a violation of team rules.” As a result, the Gators’ starting infield against Sierra Vista (3-1) had two sophomores and a freshman.

But the youngsters came through as sophomore Jarrett Perns went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and classmate Jarod Penniman finished 3-for-4 with two runs.

“We lost some key guys this week,” Gehlken said. “But guys stepped in and performed up to the expectations we have for them.”

Junior Troy Cropper smashed a solo home run to right in the fifth inning, and junior Ryan Jackson added a three-run shot in the sixth to put the Gators up 12-0.

Rogers, who is normally Green Valley’s starting shortstop and is used sparingly on the mound, needed only 42 pitches to get through the first five innings. The senior had a four-pitch second inning and threw only five in the fifth.

“We definitely swung early in the count,” Sierra Vista coach Nate Selby said. “He threw the ball in the strike zone, and they made plays, and we didn’t find a way to hit it where they weren’t.”

Cole Crosby broke up the no-hitter with a single to right leading off the sixth, and after Bailey Welter singled, Nolan Kingham ripped a two-run double to left.

Kingham, who finished 2-for-3, added another two-run double in the seventh.

“I honestly had no idea I was (throwing a no-hitter),” Rogers said. “My game plan was just to throw a first-pitch strike and go from there.”

In the win over Centennial, Cody Milner had a two-run triple and went 2-for-3.