CASA GRANDE — Five days after beating Combs 10-0 in San Tan Valley, the Vista Grande baseball team picked up another run-rule win over the Coyotes at home.
The Spartans improved to 6-0 with a 14-3 win in five innings Tuesday. It wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing of victories, but Vista Grande (6-0, 2-0 4A Black Canyon) got the job done largely behind a nine-run third inning in which it sent 14 batters to the plate.
“We had a really strong finish; unfortunately our pitching and little mental errors ... it wasn’t as clean as we wanted it, but at the end of the day, a big win’s a big win,” Spartans assistant coach Victor Olivares said.
In just his second start of the season, Vista Grande freshman Sebastian Hidrogo pitched three innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits with three walks and one strikeout. Olivares said a little rust may have contributed to his outing, as he had been nursing a lat injury of late.
Jayson Rael relieved Hidrogo to start the fourth inning, and he pitched the final two innings. The hard-throwing junior struck out four and walked three, allowing one unearned run on two hits.
“He’s (Rael) kind of like Wild Thing,” said Olivares, referring to fictional relief pitcher Rick Vaughn from the movie Major League. “He’s done a really good job (this season). Tonight, he was kind of all over the place, but he finished strong, which is good.”
At the plate, Rael walked twice and scored two runs.
For Combs (2-6, 0-4), self-inflicted wounds didn’t make the game any easier. The Coyotes committed nine errors and had issues with wild pitches and passed balls.
Chuy Santos led the way for the Vista Grande offense, going 2 for 4 with a home run and three RBIs. He blasted a two-run shot over the left-field fence in the third inning. Erubiel Ozuna also went 2 for 4 with an RBI, and junior Emilio Barreras went 1 for 4 with a two-run single.
Anthony Bolanos was 1 for 2 with a walk, two steals and two runs.
The Coyotes scored single runs in the second, third and fourth, but it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome their mistakes.
“We feel like we could have been in the ballgame today,” Combs coach Rick Surls said. “We can’t give the other team multiple outs per inning, which we did over and over and over ... we should be in midseason form right now, and we’re not there.”
Jordan Johnson started the game for the Coyotes, and he pitched 2 2/3 innings, allowing 13 runs (five earned) on seven hits with five walks and two strikeouts. Sophomore Tanner McKenzie pitched the final 1 1/3 innings and surrendered one unearned run on one hit with one strikeout.
Johnson collected the team’s only RBI with a run-scoring double down the left-field line in the third. McKenzie went 1 for 3 with a triple, and the other two Coyotes hits in the game were a single from Tim Johnson and a single from Dom Richards.
Vista Grande next plays Apache Junction (6-3, 4-0) at home Friday and then again in an away game next Tuesday.
“We’re 6-0, obviously we’re playing good baseball, but we’ve had some slow starts and strong finishes,” Olivares said. “(Looking for) a complete game all around. I think slowly but surely we’ll get to that point. It’ll take a little more time and work.”