FARMINGTON— Among all the uncertainty of the Connie Mack City Tournament, one thing was guaranteed following 4-Corners 14-6 win over Bayfield Friday at Ricketts Park. Both teams would live to play another game. That's one of the luxuries of making it through the first three rounds of the double elimination tournament without a loss.
"It's a great experience for us," said Bayfield coach Jonathon Qualls, pointing to the youth of his roster after the 14-6 loss to 4-Corners. "I think they were a little intimidated tonight but that's what happens when you have 16, 17 year olds playing against older high school kids."
After getting one run on the board in the first inninh, 4-Corners tacked on nine more in the second as the Bayfield pitching staff struggled, awarding six free bases with three walks and three hit batters. With the bases loaded, Dayne Rowley drove in three runs after a diving attempt in left field came up empty, allowing the ball to settle in the corner.
"We just made good adjustments at the plate," 4-Corners coach Brett Alexander said of the Club Sox offensive production. "No matter what they threw we made a good adjustment. Our approach stays the same, we're gonna go up there and see good pitches and put good swings together, and I think we did a pretty good job with that throughout the night."
Bayfield did what they could to answer in the top of the third, getting runners on second and third with cleanup hitter Bailey Garcia stepping to the plate. Facing a full count, Garcia hit a hard grounder deep into the five hole. The throw from Jacob Turcotte came up short of first and bouncing past Tristin Rizek on the bag and allowing Anthony Chamblee and Zane Phelps to score for Bayfield.
"Without a really bad inning that might have been a decent game," Qualls said. "They are a great team and for us, we have to play one of our best games to compete with them."
Jeff Deimling lead off the bottom of the third with a triple for 4-Corners, hitting a shot into deep center. Diemling would go on to score during the next at bat when Bayfield first baseman Noah Loutherback mishandled a groundball. The Club Sox would go on to add two more in the inning before leaving the bases loaded on back-to-back strikeouts.
To keep it interesting, Bayfield put on a two-out rally in the top of the fourth, picking up four more runs to cut the 4-Corners lead to seven at 13-6.
But the Club Sox touched home once more in the fifth to end the game.
With the loss Bayfield is set to play Strike Zone today at 5:30 p.m. at Ricketts. Qualls' message to his players leading into the semifinal matchup is simple.
"Just don't be intimidated," Qualls said. "They have nothing to lose. They're not expected to win so just go out there, play hard and let it fall where it falls."
With the win, 4-Corners is the only remaining unbeaten team in the tournament and will face Naa'taanii in the nightcap of the semifinal games at 8 p.m., also Ricketts Park.
"It's a good feeling," Alexander said of being unbeaten. "We control our own destiny, and we've just got to go out there and continue to work hard, play the game the right way and let the chips fall where they may. Baseball's a funny game played funny sticks and a round ball and anything can happen on any given day, so we've got to show up ready to play like we have all week and all season. If we do that we'll be fine."