Prospectors top Estrella Foothills, fall to Youngker
By Daniel Dullum
Apache Junction’s up-and-down baseball season took an explosive upswing on March 9, when the Prospectors traveled to Phoenix Metro Tech and emerged with a 27-4 4A non-region win.
Earlier in the week, AJHS traveled to Goodyear on March 6 and edged Estrella Foothills 2-1 behind a one-hitter by Austin Sample. Two days later, the Prospectors dropped a 12-2 five-inning decision to visiting Buckeye Youngker.
“We had a tough game against Estrella Foothills, really intense,” Prospectors Coach Alex Murphy said. “We didn’t come to play (against Estrella Foothills), we committed a lot of errors, popped the ball up a lot. That happens when you don’t come ready to play.
“A strong start is imperative. You don’t even have to have a big lead. You just have to play clean baseball.”
The Prospectors bounced back against Metro Tech with a pair of 12-run innings in the four-inning rout. Nathan Rhodes doubled and homered while driving in three runs, Sample hit two doubles and a triple while driving in four runs, and Remy Wiltz added a home run and four runs batted in. Seth Peterson and JJ Bradley each hit a double, and Gabe Carranza had a sacrifice fly and three RBIs.
Jake Washburn picked up the win, with five strikeouts, one walk and one hit allowed in four innings.
Sample surrendered a first-inning sacrifice fly to Corbin Wright, driving in Sam Cunningham, who singled. From there, the junior struck out five, didn’t issue a walk, and blanked the Wolves over the next six innings.
AJ scored both of its runs in the top of the third on Sample’s RBI single and a run-scoring double by Nathan Rhodes. Thomas Duarte and Nick Mohn scored the Prospectors’ runs.
Rhodes went 2-for-3, while Duarte and Sample both went 1-for-2.
Roughriders hitters roughed up Apache Junction starter Nick Mohn, putting up seven runs in the second inning. Nathan Morgan drove in three Youngker runs, while Clayton Adams, Rafael Caraval, Julian Dominguez and Andrew Candaleria each finished with two RBIs.
Thomas Duarte drove in both AJ runs, and Remy Wiltz collected two hits. Defensively, the Prospectors committed four errors.
Mohn surrendered 11 runs in 2 2/3 innings, nine of them earned. He struck out two and walked five. Nathan Rhodes threw the final 2 1/3 innings.
After spring break, the Prospectors continue their season on March 19, when they travel to Casa Grande Union.
Photo above: AJHS baserunner Seth Peterson dives back to first base ahead of a pickoff throw against Youngker.