FARMINGTON — Strike Zone entered Wednesday's Connie Mack City Tournament game knowing the Sting would pose a challenge.
The Sting did just that, but eventually Strike Zone found a way past Farmington High's developmental team in a 7-2 victory at Ricketts Park to advance.
Sting starter Easton Haskill held Strike Zone scoreless for four innings, but the four-time Connie Mack World Series host team finally broke through in the fifth inning with a bases-clearing triple by Austin Davis to open up a 3-0 lead.
Davis, who graduated from FHS in 2013, said he enjoyed going up against his former teammates while coming up with the big hit in the victory.
"I got up early in the count and just sat dead red fastball," said Davis, who played this spring at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas. "I got a pitch to hit and put it in the gap."
The Sting battled back in the bottom of the fifth inning with a pair of runs thanks to a couple of wild pitches by Strike Zone starter Ben Wiley and a sacrifice bunt from the Sting's Isaiah George.
Strike Zone pushed the lead to 4-2 in the sixth with the help of two Sting errors and then tacked on three more in the seventh to put the game away after RBI hits from Davis, Matthew Knickerbocker and Connor Calvert.
Davis went 3-for-4 with four RBIs at the plate, falling a home run short of the cycle.
"I just happened to see the ball well today. It was a good hitting day," Davis said. "Hopefully, that will carry over into tomorrow and throughout the weekend."
The Sting had a chance early in the game to take the lead after loading the bases with no outs, but Wiley worked out of the jam, getting a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
"I think overall they were a little bit down, but competing with them shows how much growth there's been," Sting head coach Tim Trotter said.
Strike Zone's victory sets up a showdown in today's 8 p.m. game against 4-Corners at Ricketts Park.
"We know each other better than anyone," Strike Zone head coach Adam Morrissey said of the matchup with the Club Sox. "It's going to be another battle and whoever comes and executes is going to win."
The Sting will play the Pack today at the Farmington Sports Complex in an elimination game after Bayfield's Zane Phelps hit a walkoff single in the bottom of eighth inning to give the Bats a 5-4 win over the team based out of Cortez, Colo.
Trotter said hanging around with Strike Zone shows the FHS team has made a lot of strides this summer, and he's hopeful the players will continue that improvement into the high school season.
"If we played them early on in the season, it would have been lopsided," Trotter said. "It was just those couple timely mistakes. We just had a couple errors and got behind in some counts."
In other tournament games, Naa'taanii knocked off RC Foster in the losers' bracket with a 10-1 victory, eliminating the Piedra Vista team consisting of junior varsity and C team players.
RC Baker will face Naa'taanii at 5:30 at Ricketts Park after knocking out Bloomfield with a 3-0 victory.
Elijah Gamboa threw a no-hitter for RC Baker in the win, striking out four Bombers and walking just one.
Bayfield will have a bye until Friday.