Layton Walls’ 104th and final pitch Saturday was his finest of the day.
It was a 1-and-2 fastball — there was no radar gun, but Rancho’s coach figures high-80s — up in the zone, and it blew away Coronado’s Ethan Stephens for the final out in the Rams’ 5-1 home baseball win over the Cougars.
“I love it,” said Walls, who struck out six in his first complete game. “It’s the best feeling in the world, I can tell you that.”
His statistics don’t seem that impressive, don’t suggest a complete game. He walked five and gave up three hits, including a homer, and made first-pitch strikes to 12 of 26 hitters.
But he also induced two 1-6-3 double plays, and a line drive doubled off a runner in the sixth. Walls did not allow a runner to reach third base.
“I just felt like I had to hit my spots, do my job and let my defense work, and at the end of the day we got the ‘W,’ ” Walls said. “It’s always a little bit of a hype when you start double plays.”
The second-ranked Rams (22-4, 14-2 Sunrise League) scored in the third when Edarian Williams doubled to lead off the inning and came home on an errant pickoff attempt. After scoring in the fourth, Williams walked in the fifth and reached third on another failed pickoff. Then he and Joey Walls scored on Kagen Kennedy’s two-out single for a 4-1 lead.
“Coronado is always a tough game, and we came out and capitalized when we had to,” Rancho coach Manny Llamas said. “Great team win.”
Williams was 1-for-2 with the double and two walks and is hitting .518. Kennedy is hitting .544 for the Rams, who have a .439 team average.
Cristian Herrera homered for the seventh-ranked Cougars (16-8, 11-4), and Boston Mabeus struck out nine in four innings, allowing two runs (one earned).