After Region Wins over Demons, Sentinels Outlast AJ
By Daniel Dullum
Looking to bounce back from a disastrous three-loss week, Apache Junction’s offense came to life on April 10 against visiting El Mirage Dysart.
With the game tied at 3-3, the Prospectors loaded the bases with no one out in the sixth. After Trentin Smith drew an RBI walk to give AJ the lead, Sebastian Wells broke the game open with a two-run double.
It was Wells’ first hit of the Prospectors’ 12-3 home Black Canyon Region victory.
“It was just a mindset that I was going to get on base and get some runs in,” Wells said.
The Prospectors (6-2 region) eventually sent 14 hitters to the plate in their nine-run sixth inning.
“The first kid (Dysart starter Jacob McClelland) had throwing was pretty good, and we were having a tough time scratching runs against him,” Prospectors Coach Alex Murphy said. “We had some good at-bats and wore him down a little bit. I think that put us over the edge.”
Before the Prospectors enjoyed their big inning, they snuffed out a potential Demons rally in the top of the sixth, when Kobe Ganados was caught in a rundown between third and home for the third out.
“That’s no something we talk about so much because we try to stay even keeled, but that play definitely had an impact on the next inning,” Murphy said.
Wells, Thomas Duarte, Remy Wiltz and JJ Bradley each drove in two runs for Apache Junction. Duarte hit a pair of doubles, while Bradley, Gabe Carranza and Nathan Rhodes each hit a double as part of AJ’s 10-hit attack.
Winning pitcher Austin Sample gave up three earned runs on six hits, with five strikeouts and two walks in six innings. Remy Wiltz threw a scoreless seventh for AJ.
The Prospectors are ranked No. 35 in the 4A power poll.
“This definitely helped for a shot at the playoffs, but we’ll still need some help from whoever plays (Phoenix) Washington,” Murphy said.
AJ traveled to El Mirage and handed Dysart an 18-7 region defeat on April 12. JJ Bradley and Nathan Rhodes each hit home runs, Nick Mohn had a triple and doubles were struck by Rhodes, Thomas Duarte and Seth Peterson.
Peterson and Bradley drove in four runs each for the Prospectors.
Jake Washburn threw the first 4 1/3 innings, striking out five and issuing one walk to get the win.
The Demons are 4-15 overall.
Seton Catholic, ranked No. 3 in the AIA 4A power poll, used a big third inning to defeat Apache Junction 12-7 on April 13 in Chandler.
The Sentinels (21-1 overall, 6-0 Desert Sky Region) broke a 1-1 deadlock with a six-run rally and added three more runs in the fourth.
Mason Larusso drove in five of Seton Catholic’s 12 runs with a double and a home run. Sentinels starter Ethan Brown struck out five and walked five in five innings, giving up one earned run.
Apache Junction slipped to 12-12 overall. The Prospectors host Tempe on Monday.
Photo above: Thomas Duarte (10) of Apache Junction scores a second-inning run against Dysart. (Photo by Daniel Dullum)