LIONS KICK-OFF TOURNEY: Bixby guides Basic to tourney title

Playing six baseball games in three days is enough to test any pitching staff at any level.

Basic passed with flying colors.

Trent Bixby threw a six-hitter Saturday and came within an out of posting the team’s third shutout as the Wolves beat host Desert Oasis 5-1 in the championship game of the Lions Kick-Off Tournament. Basic gave up four runs in six games.

“We were fortunate to get some five-inning games,” Basic coach Scott Baker said. “Plus, we’ve got quite a few arms this year. We’re pretty deep with pitching. We knew that coming in.”

It helped to have a fresh pitcher such as Bixby throwing in the championship game. Bixby, a senior transfer from Cimarron-Memorial, was in control throughout, striking out seven with one walk.

“Trent did what Trent’s done since we got him,” Baker said. “He’s so competitive. That’s probably his biggest asset. He just competes. He throws all three pitches for strikes. We love it.”

Bixby had a shutout until the seventh. He gave up a bloop single to Aaron Roberts to start the inning, then retired the next two batters. He walked Nic Lane on four pitches, and pinch hitter Isaiah Raiano singled up the middle to score pinch runner Jordan McKinley to end the shutout.

But Bixby bounced back, striking out Jason Sharman on a high fastball to end the game.

“He had a good breaking ball, he had a good change-up and he got ahead of guys,” Baker said. “I think he was 60 percent with first-pitch strikes. That’s a good formula, for sure.”

Jack Wold was 2-for-4 with an RBI, Garrett Giles went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI, and J.J. Smith was 3-for-3 for Basic.

Basic got five complete games in the six-game tournament. The Wolves allowed three earned runs in 36 innings for a 0.58 ERA. Ryne Nelson pitched a one-hitter in a 12-0 semifinal win over Palo Verde earlier Saturday.

But the Wolves have only one day off before starting Division I Sunrise League play Monday against Silverado. Basic has league games Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

“This club is a veteran club, and they understand that it’s a very humbling game,” Baker said. “And Monday can humble us real quick if we don’t come out with the intensity and focus that we’ve had.”

Basic 12, Palo Verde 0 — At Desert Oasis, Nelson needed just 49 pitches in his one-hit shutout as the Wolves rolled to the five-inning semifinal win.

Nelson struck out five with no walks.

Smith went 2-for-2 with a double, a homer and four RBIs to pace the offense. Wold was 3-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, and Giles was 2-for-2 with two RBIs for Basic.

Bixby went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs for the Wolves, who used a six-run fourth to pull away.

Desert Oasis 7, Green Valley 5 — At Desert Oasis, Kyle Fuentes was 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs as the Diamondbacks downed the Gators in the other semifinal.

Cole Schaefer was 2-for-4 with a run for Desert Oasis, which scored twice in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 6-5 lead.

A.J. Amelburu was 3-for-4 with two runs, and Gavin Morley went 2-for-4 with an RBI for Green Valley. Drake Maningo went 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs for the Gators.

Centennial 13, Rancho 6 — At Sierra Vista, Jake Rogers was 4-for-4 with a double, two runs and two RBIs, and the Bulldogs scored seven runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to down the Rams in the Red Division championship.

Kyle Horton was 2-for-4 with a home run, a double and three RBIs, and Hayden Rosenkrantz went 3-for-5 for Centennial. Paydon Prescott was 1-for-1 with a double and three RBIs for the Bulldogs.

Chayse Baker was 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs, and Zach Barnhart went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI for Rancho.

Centennial 10, Durango 0 — At Sierra Vista, Michael Vega tossed a five-inning one-hitter as the Bulldogs blanked the Trailblazers.

Jordan Crawford was 2-for-3 with a double and four RBIs, and Frank Sessa and Garrett Holden each went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI for Centennial. Austin Kryszcuk was 2-for-2 with two doubles for Centennial.

Rancho 11, Sierra Vista 8 — At Sierra Vista, Angel Martinez struck out the final two batters with the potential tying run at the plate to preserve the Rams’ victory over the Mountain Lions.

Rancho took an 11-5 lead into the bottom of the seventh before Sierra Vista scored three runs and had runners at second and third, but Martinez slammed the door.

Joey Walls was 3-for-4, and Anthony Guzman went 2-for-3 with a double for Rancho.

Zachary Kreithe was 4-for-4, and teammate Dylan White went 3-for-5 for Sierra Vista.

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