SUNRISE BASEBALL: Edarian Williams comes through in clutch, lifts Rancho into title game

The sunlight was fading and tempers were running high Friday, but Rancho’s Edarian Williams made sure the game didn’t go on any longer.

Williams hit a line drive that ricocheted off Coronado pitcher Garett Lake and into right field for an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to give the Rams a 9-8 win over the Cougars in the losers’ bracket final of the Class 4A Sunrise Region baseball tournament at Las Vegas High.

“At that point, I was just trying to put the ball in play, try and score the run,” Williams siad. “He had been doing good, but he had it coming.”

Rancho (24-7) plays Basic (25-7) in the Sunrise title game at noon on Saturday at Las Vegas. Should the Rams win, a second game would be played to determine the champion.

The Rams loaded the bases with one out after Kaleb Parker singled, Anthony Guzman walked and David Arambula was hit by a pitch. That brought up Williams, who lined a 1-and-2 pitch off Lake to bring home the winning run.

Things had gotten heated on the field, and in the stands where fans exchanged words. A Rancho assistant was ejected, and Lake was seen staring and yelling into the Rancho dugout multiple times.

“Because he was running his mouth,” Williams said. “He deserved what he got.”

Had Williams not delivered, it was quite possible the game would have been suspended because of darkness to be finished on Saturday morning. But Williams, who was limited to a designated hitter role because of a tight lower back, came through when it mattered most.

“Edarian’s been playing hurt the last couple days and he sucked it up, and said, ‘Coach, I still want to play. Whatever I’ve got to do to play, I want to play,’ ” Rancho coach Manny Llamas said. “He went out there, and he was grinding. He was hurt, but he was grinding. He had a great day.”

Rancho tied the game in the sixth on a two-out RBI single by Jimmy Gamboa. Guzman pitched four innings of shutout relief to get the win for the Rams, who managed to fight back to the championship round after losing to Foothill in opening game of the tournament.

“We just played as a family; we played as a team,” Williams said. “After that first game we lost, we were kind of bickering and arguing back and forth. And after that, we just came together and made a run through the playoffs.”

Williams, Guzman and Gamboa each had two hits, a run and an RBI, and Angel Walker launched a three-run homer into the street beyond the fence in left-center field for the Rams.

Jake McLean and Kyle Hall each had three-run homer for Coronado.

Regardless of what happens on Saturday, Rancho’s season won’t be over. The Sunrise runner-up will face the Sunset runner-up in a play-in game on Monday to earn the final berth in next week’s Class 4A state tournament.

“It’s good, because it gives some of us some rest and some of us need it, and we can get some arms back for Monday,” Williams said.

But Llamas said the team will do its best to knock off Basic on Saturday.

“We’re going to try to win it all, right. That’s our goal,” Llamas said. “And whatever happens (Saturday), we’re going to give it our all, and hopefully we can end up on the right side of this thing.”

Rancho 15, Liberty 9 — Earlier Friday, the Rams erased a 6-0 deficit to eliminate the Patriots.

Miguel Elicerio and Angel Walker hit back-to-back homers to break a 6-6 tie and key an eight-run fifth inning for Rancho.

Williams, Gamboa and Elicerio each drove in three runs aganst Liberty.