FARMINGTON — After being awarded the luxury of a first-round bye in the Connie Mack City Tournament, Naa'taanii came out firing on all cylinders Wednesday night.
Naa'taanii defeated the Rivercats 11-3 in five innings as Tyson Curley delivered a walk-off single to give Naa'taanii a run-rule victory.
The win gives Naa'taanii another day off before facing the winner of the DC MOB and Strike Zone Baseball on Friday. The winner of Friday's game will advance directly into the final round of the tournament and will be just one win away from hosting the 2013 Connie Mack World Series.
"I can't say enough about how fortunate we are with the bracket. Hopefully, there will be a good game (Thursday) night," said Naa'taanii head coach Tim Campos in reference to tonight's DC MOB and Strike Zone game. "Both teams have tremendous depth and have played a lot of games this summer. They are built for this stuff. We hope to compete against the winner and see what happens."
Naa'taanii was led by pitcher Nick DeArmond, who went a complete game and struck out three Rivercats and walked two. He gave up four hits over five innings and was charged with two runs.
"Nick did exactly what we needed him to do. He came out and threw strikes," Campos said. "We played good defense behind him as well and got exactly what we needed."
DeArmond also scored two runs in the game.
Naa'taanii was led by leadoff hitter Broc Landreth, who was 3-for-4 in the game with an RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base.
"I try to get everyone started. It feels awesome to win, and I hope we can carry this out through the whole tournament," Landreth said.
Landreth said it feels good to be one win away from the final round, and the second-year Naa'taanii player hopes to deliver a championship on Sunday.
"Our coaches have been out here doing this for over 10 years. I hope to bring them glory to i" Landreth said. "It would be my best accomplishment. I have won state and stuff, but going to the Connie Mack World Series would be huge."
The Rivercats held Naa'taanii scoreless through the first two innings as starting pitcher Gunner Archuleta worked out of trouble. But Naa'taanii scored four runs in the third after reeling off three singles in a row to open the frame.
Zach Hinojos drove in Landreth and Romon Gonsalez scored on a Rivercats error, one of six Rivercats errors in the game. Terrance Barela then drove in Hinojos with another single.
Archuleta was eventually relieved in the fourth inning after failing to record an out as Naa'taanii tacked on three more runs in the inning, thanks largely to a two-run single by James Cordova.
The Rivercats scored three runs in the fifth as Kody Russell came up with a big two-run double to score Wyatt Weaver and Logan Klunder. Russell later scored on a Naa'taanii error.
Naa'taanii batted around the lineup in the fifth before Curley came up with the walk-off single to score Hinojos.
The Rivercats fall to the loser's bracket, where they will face the winner of the Sting and 4-Corners at 5:30 p.m. Friday. The Sting and 4-Corners face off today at 5:30 p.m. in an elimination game.
Naa'taanii will take advantage of its day off and scout the DC MOB and Strike Zone game.
"I want to come out and see who we are going to play. Either team will be good competition, so it will be a great game," Landreth said.
Campos said the team won't feel any pressure on Friday night, even if the coaches do.
"These kids just come out and have fun playing the game," Campos said.John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.