SUNSET REGION: Win gives Cimarron ‘upper hand’ in Sunset tourney

An 8-4 win over Spring Valley has Cimarron-Memorial’s team right where it wants to be. Spartans coach Mike Hubel just wishes his team didn’t waste so much time getting there.

The Spartans fell behind 3-1 early on Wednesday before using a five-run fourth inning to take control on the way to the win in the Sunset Region tournament at Centennial.

“The last eight or 10 games, it seems like we score all our runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings,” Cimarron coach Mike Hubel said. “They need to buckle down early in the game. But they did a good job coming back.”

Spring Valley plays Centennial at 1 p.m. today at Centennial in an elimination game. The winner of that game plays Cimarron at 4 p.m.

Should the Spartans lose that game, the Spring Valley-Centennial winner would have to beat them again on Friday to reach the Sunset title game.

“It’s huge to win the first two,” Hubel said. “We haven’t done that in a long time. And now we have the upper hand.”
With Cimarron trailing 3-1, senior Taylor Doyle sparked the five-run rally with an RBI triple.

“His triple got us going,” Hubel said. “That was a big hit.”

Kaz Smith followed with an RBI single to tie the game, and sophomore Nate Hale came through with a two-out, bases-loaded double to give Cimarron the lead.

“It stinks playing chase, but we had some kids that came through and we had a couple two-out hits, a couple base-clearers,” Hubel said.

A.J. Hernandez added a two-run double in the fifth for the Spartans.

Cimarron played errorless baseball and turned a pair of double plays to help starter Kody Gorden get out of jams.

“Our defense is playing really well,” Hubel said. “At the beginning of the year we were a little shaky. To turn two or three double plays, that’s huge. Those are back breakers for teams.”

Hernandez was 2-for-3 for Cimarron, which had just five hits but took advantage of six walks and a hit batsman.

Billy Bob Ward was 2-for-3 with a double, a homer and two RBIs to lead Spring Valley. Garrett Blair was 2-for-3, including an RBI double, and Aaron Blair went 2-for-3 for the Grizzlies.

Centennial 7, Durango 3 — At Centennial, Loral Monson was 2-for-2 with a triple, three runs and an RBI to help the Bulldogs eliminate the Trailblazers.

Christian Bernal (run, RBI) and Sam Friend each added two hits and Matt Triana hit a solo homer for Centennial, which took the lead early on Dominick Monteiro’s two-run single in the second inning.

Friend got the win, allowing three runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out 12.

Durango’s Danny Reynolds and Josh Hull each had two hits.

Bishop Gorman 16, Palo Verde 1 — At Sierra Vista, the Panthers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but things went downhill from there as the Gaels earned the five-inning win to improve to 2-0 in the tournament.

“It’s the playoffs, so you expect quality games every game,” Gorman coach Chris Sheff said. “We executed the game to the best of our ability and made things easy for us today.”

Palo Verde (21-11) plays Legacy in an elimination game at 1 p.m. today at Sierra Vista. Gorman (35-3) awaits the winner of that game at 4 p.m.

Gorman answered with two runs in the bottom of the second inning on an RBI single by R.J. Santigate, who was 2-for-2 with three RBIs, and a wild pitch to make it 2-1.

Stephen Manthei earned the win with six strikeouts through four innings and went 2-for-4 with two RBIs at the plate.

“It’s typical of the way he’s thrown all year,” Sheff said of Manthei. “He’s not trying to fool people. He just goes after them and gets them out with quality strikes.”

The Gaels took control by sending 15 batters to the plate and scoring 11 runs in the third.

“A great thing about this club is that there’s guys all up and down this lineup that can hurt you one way or another,” Sheff said. “Some days it’s the top half; some days it’s the bottom half.”

Manthei led off the big inning with a double, Bishop Gorman’s only extra-base hit, and scored on a single by Johnny Field (3-for-3 with four runs).

“I think we’re in a good spot, and if we play good baseball, hopefully we can take care of getting to the regional final,” Sheff said.

Legacy 5, Sierra Vista 4 — At Sierra Vista, Joey Lauria’s sacrifice fly to right field in the bottom of the seventh inning scored

Austin Christiansen for the go-ahead run as the Longhorns (20-8) eliminated the Mountain Lions (25-7).

Legacy scored the tying run in the sixth when Andres Ortiz’s fielder’s choice plated Richard Esquivel.

Esquivel was 3-for-4, Donald Glover went 3-for-3 and Ortiz homered for Legacy.

Sierra Vista’s David DeCarlo and Kyle Gamble each had two hits.

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