Farmington was in control for six innings against Piedra Vista, but the skies opened up momentarily as wind, dust and rain pelted Ricketts Park, seemingly signaling a change in the air.
The Scorpions led crosstown rival Piedra Vista 3-1 going into the top of the seventh with Austin Davis on the mound looking to finish a marvelous performance. But, after the dust settled, the Panthers mounted a furious come back that started with a Kody Russell leadoff double and concluded with an Ian Doughty two-run triple that gave Piedra Vista 5-3 lead.
Farmington fought back in the bottom of the seventh with one run, but Nate Dominguez slammed the door on the Scorpions with a two-out save to give Piedra Vista a 5-4 win in the championship game of the 27th Annual Farmington Scorpion Baseball Invite.
"It doesn't matter how good or bad either one of these two clubs are, as long as I am here and (Sean Trotter) is there, this is going to be a slugfest," said PV head coach Mike McGaha. "We knew what we were going to get playing FHS. Trotter does an unbelievable job calling pitches and managing the game. We are trying to combat that. He knows everything about us, and we know everything about them.
"We prepare for situations like we had late in that game, but I really don't know what to say. Our guys just did an unbelievable job at the plate. It isn't over until it is over. Until every one walks away, we will keep it one pitch at a time."
PV had the bottom of its order due up in the top of the seventh inning, but the three boys at the bottom wouldn't go down without a fight.
Russell started the top of the seventh with a leadoff double after going down in the count 0-2. He fouled off a few pitches before sending a ball down the right field line.
"I was out there trying to fight off any pitch I could get to," Russell said.
Chris Franks flew out for the first out of the inning before Satchel Baker picked up a pinch-hit single to put runners on first and third for the Panthers.
Leadoff man Matt Martin then drew a walk before Jeremy Johnson hit a single that drove in Russell.
Jacy Cave flew out to first base with the bases loaded to give Farmington its second out of the inning while still holding a 3-2 lead.
The game was tied when a wild pitch from Davis made it to the screen, allowing Baker to score from third.
Doughty then hit his triple that gave PV its 5-3 advantage.
Doughty was also down 0-2 in the pitch count before hitting his blast to the right center field wall.
Doughty slid into third and was greeted by McGaha, who was visibly thrilled with the seventh inning rally.
"It felt amazing since I wasn't hitting the ball early in the game. I just tried to stick to the plan, and it ended up paying off," Doughty said. "Seeing coach like that just puts a big smile on my face and gives me even more confidence in the next close game we have."
Doughty's triple signaled the end of the day on the mound for Davis, who was stellar in the first five innings.
In six and two-third innings pitched, Davis allowed eight hits — four in the sixth inning — and five earned runs. He struck out six PV hitters while walking two and hitting one batter with a pitch.
"We were definitely satisfied with the effort tonight. Davis pitches his tail off," said FHS head coach Sean Trotter. "He was a bit extended, and it was his longest outing of the year. But, for the most part, he did a great job."
Brandon Padilla led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a walk before being pinch-run for by Chris Moore.
Beamer Wick, who hit a two-run home run in the third inning, then doubled to give the Scorpions runners on second and third with one out.
Elias Blackwater then hit a ground ball to third base where PV's Dillan Vigil picked up the ball and fired to home plate instead of first for the sure out.
Moore was safe at home, bringing the game to 5-4.
McGaha then lifted his reliever, Johnson, in favor of Nate Dominguez because he wanted to sure up his defense on the infield by putting Johnson back at second base.
Dominguez was able to strike out Ethan Spellbring before getting Frankie Gutierrez to fly out to center field to end the game.
Gutierrez's fly ball soared in the sky while PV defenders scrambled to get underneath it. Martin originally called for the ball at shortstop before the wind pushed it to shallow center field, and Russell came on to make a sliding grab to end the game.
If the ball had fallen to the grass, Farmington was in position to at least tie the game.
"It was blowing around a little bit out there. It got pretty high and I thought (Martin) had it, but I called him off and caught it," Russell said.
Farmington stranded nine runners in the game.
"There were too many guys left on base. We didn't come up with the big hit several times throughout the game," Trotter said. "We had a few mishaps there in the seventh inning in the field and then lose by a run. For the most part I was happy with the effort, we just couldn't finish."
Trotter said the change in weather had no effect on the game the way he played out, but admitted the baseball gods may have been playing tricks.
"It was bizarre, right? I don't think it had anything to do with anything, but certainly the winds of change right there in the seventh inning," he said. "Tip you cap to a good ball club at PV. They battled to the final out, but we did, too."
Austin Bayless earned the win on the mound for Piedra Vista in one and two-third innings of solid relief work in place of Martin, who went four and one-third innings in his first start of the season.
Martin gave up eight hits and three runs while walking one and striking out two. He allowed the home run to Wick and an RBI-single to Matt Huffhines in the second inning that scored Gutierrez.
McGaha said this year's team is still trying to find an identity, especially at the plate.
"We are trying to figure out who we are and which guys will compete well and who will give us the opportunity in the end of games," McGaha said. "It will take every kid on the bench. I think these guys want to try to prove to everyone they belong. This is a completely new group from last year. We are not trying to be who we were last year. We want to be who we are this year."
Trotter was happy with his team after a solid tournament, and he is hoping the Scorps get another shot at PV in the Panthers' tournament next weekend.
"We have a lot of fight in our dugout. We certainly have to take it one play and one game at a time but, in my mind, we have an opportunity to see those guys five times this year." Trotter said. "I think that was good to play the way we did. We just have to clean up the few mishaps. I think this was a great tournament. Los Lunas is a good club, and we saw Aztec yesterday. Aztec is as good as they have been in awhile. Vernal, Utah swung the bats here well and then you have PV and Farmington. It was a good tournament for the most part."
In the third-place game, Aztec led Los Lunas 4-1 with two outs and nobody on in the top of the seventh inning before Los Lunas riddled off six hits and two walks to score seven runs.
Aztec wasn't able to answer in the bottom of the seventh, falling 8-4.
"It is frustrating for our guys. They are mad because they let two games slip away from them this tournament," said Aztec assistant coach Brett Alexander. "There is no reason we shouldn't be playing against PV in the championship of this tournament. Farmington is a great club, and they fought back against us yesterday, but we let that game and the game with Los Lunas get away from us late."
Aztec led Farmington 4-0 early and 4-3 in the fifth inning before falling to the Scorpions 6-4 on Friday.
"I told the guys I will take these two losses on me. They came out and played their butts off. I am very proud that we came out and made a statement that we have a good team this year," Alexander said. "We definitely made a statement this weekend."
Farmington (4-3) and PV (5-1) will both be in action in the PV tournament beginning Thursday while Aztec (4-2) will host its own tournament beginning Thursday.
Bloomfield tourney comes to conclusion
The Bloomfield Bobcat baseball team took fifth place in its own tournament Saturday after defeating Santa Fe High 15-3.
The Bobcats (3-2) responded well after losing the tournament opener 5-0 to Kirtland Centrtal.
The Bobcats beat Raton 12-2 on Friday before beating Santa Fe on Saturday behind a solid pitching performance from Kyle Thompson.
Kirtland fell in the championship game of the tournament 11-6 to Espanola Valley.
Grants took third place by defeating Blanding, Utah 8-4.
Bloomfield is back in action next weekend at the St. Michael's tournament while Kirtland Central will play in Aztec's tournament.
John Livingston may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2