Prospectors Drop Pair of Region Games to Washington
By Daniel Dullum
On the heels of a four-game winning streak, Apache Junction endured a disastrous week of 4A baseball, losing three games while being outscored 22-1.
The Prospectors were dealt a severe blow to their playoff hopes after losing 12-0 to Tempe Marcos de Niza on April 2, followed by back-to-back defeats by Phoenix Washington – 5-0 on April 3 and 5-1 on April 5.
Apache Junction is ranked No. 34 in the AIA 4A power poll, and slipped to third place in the Black Canyon Region standings at 4-2.
“We can still sneak in, but we need to win the rest of our region games and get help from the other guys,” Prospectors Coach Alex Murphy said.
In the April 5 contest at the AJHS diamond, the Rams scored first in the fourth inning on an RBI double by Augustin Morga. AJ answered in the bottom of the fourth when Austin Sample tripled and scored on Nathan Rhodes’ sacrifice fly.
Washington went ahead to stay on Jose Contreras-Gonzales’ two run homer off Rhodes, and tacked on two more runs in the seventh on a two-RBI double by Contreras-Gonzales.
Rhodes threw the first six-plus innings, and Remy Wiltz worked the seventh for AJ.
“I thought both of our pitchers threw well,” Prospectors Coach Alex Murphy said. “We threw 121 pitches in the game, and 119 were good. They’re a good team, we had our opportunities on offense.”
The Prospectors had the bases loaded with no one out in the sixth, but Rhodes hit into a double play and Remy Wiltz popped out to second, ending the rally.
“We made a mental mistake, they turned a double play,” Murphy said. “Washington is a tough team, and I don’t see them losing any more. Their 2-3-4 hitters are all hitting over .450.”
Sample was 2-for-3, and Nick Mohn had the only other hit for the Prospectors, a double.
Two days earlier, JJ Bradley had the only hit for the Prospectors, while Sample gave up three earned runs on 12 hits, struck out seven and walked three.
Photo above: The Prospectors’ Austin Sample slides safely into third base on a fourth-inning triple against Phoenix Washington. (Photo by Daniel Dullum)