FARMINGTON— Through three innings of baseball, the Bayfield defense kept 4-Corners guessing.
"I'm going to give credit to their starter," said 4-Corners coach Brett Alexander. "He mixed it up. He threw good fastballs in good counts, and he mixed in his curveball to keep us off balance a bit."
But before long the 4-Corners lineup figured things out, scoring 12 runs in the fourth and fifth innings to earn a 13-3 victory after the fifth via the run rule.
4-Corners third baseman Jeff Deimling said the reason for the slow start was due in part to the team's recent long weekends in Pueblo, Colo., and a lack of focus.
"I'd say we were kind of out of it," said Deimling, who played at Albuquerque's La Cueva High School. "We were kind of dead at first, but we just kind of picked it up there, picked up the energy. We just didn't come out prepared I guess."
It was a thought Alexander shared.
"It's one of those things where we have a good lineup we just need to figure things out," Alexander said. "At times, we get a little too nonchalant at the plate and just think that teams are going to roll over."
After back-to-back runs by 4-Corners in the top of the fourth and only one out, it looked as though the game would again slip away from Bayfield, who allowed 11 runs in the fourth inning Monday night against Strike Zone. But unlike Monday's game, Bayfield got out of the inning when Bayfield's center fielder Brody McGhehey doubled up 4-Corners' Kody Russell at first after snagging a Matt Martin liner and fired it back to first.
Bayfield escaped with minimal damage and got their first run of the game in the bottom of the inning to cut the lead to 3-1.
But the 4-Corners bats that started to heat up in the fourth inning only got hotter in the fifth.
Through a combination of good hitting by 4-Corners, and a few mishaps by the Bayfield defense, four runs were on the board in the inning, prompting a pitching change for Bayfield.
The change saw Taed Heyding move from right field to the mound, but the results were the same as 4-Corners continued to pound the ball, adding another six runs in the inning to make it 13-1.
"Once you can get into teams' bullpens, that's when you can really do some damage," Alexander said.
Despite the struggles of the top of the fifth, Bayfield didn't roll over.
As the home team Bayfield had the bottom of the inning to try to cut the lead. Needing five runs to keep the game going, Bayfield scored two runs in the inning and had the bases loaded. But with two outs the task was too much to overcome with the comeback ending and leaving the bases juiced.
With less than two weeks before the City Tournament begins, the 4-Corners squad is bringing it's entire team together to make the push to be crowned the host team of this year's Connie Mack World Series.
And after weeks of tournament play complete, Alexander feels his squad is ready for the challenge.
"The camaraderie and cohesiveness as a team is really starting to gel. The lineup we have is starting to swing the bat really well and these pitchers that we're bringing in, they're starting to see the defense that we're gonna put behind them, all they have to do is throw strikes and let the defense make plays," Alexander said. "It's kind of weird, most of these kids you would think they've known each other for their whole lives. They're getting along, they like each other, they're hanging out outside of the ball park so it's good. It's a good thing to see."