FARMINGTON — The Sting are playing their best baseball of the summer, and it's coming at the perfect time, beating the Demons 4-0 in the first round of the Connie Mack City Tournament at Ricketts Park on Monday.
"When we went to Denver this last weekend, we really picked up our hitting," said Sting pitcher Dominic Martinez, who pitched a complete game shutout. "We had a couple team bonding days, and we've really gotten closer as a team. I think it's really helped us, and we have good synergy."
The Demons were the first to threaten, putting runners on the corners in the top of the second. But Martinez got out of the jam, striking out Tyler Ruetchle to end the inning.
After the second, Martinez never allowed more than one runner on in an inning.
"He did awesome," Sting coach Tim Trotter said of Martinez. "He threw 80 something pitches and filled up the strike zone from the get-go. He threw great. I think he did a great job, and we played well behind him."
At the plate, the Sting struggled to get things going and didn't get a runner on base until the bottom of the third when Isaiah Jaramillo reached on a walk. The Sting went on to load the bases in the inning, but with two away, catcher Dominic Hines grounded to first to end the inning with three runners stranded.
Rather than panicking after the missed opportunities, the Sting remained patient in the batter's box, drawing multiple walks in the third and fourth innings.
The Sting got on the board in the third when Jaramillo drove in Justin Nakai to make it 1-0.
Then in the fourth, Martinez drove in Hines with an RBI single to extend the lead to 2-0. During the next at-bat, Kodi Becenti recorded a two-out, two-RBI triple when Demons right fielder Max Hyson came up empty diving for Becenti's fly ball.
The win keeps the Sting on the top side of the bracket, where they'll play SZ Scanlan today at 3 p.m. at Ricketts Park.
The Demons will play 4CB in an elimination game today at 5:30 p.m. at the Farmington Sports Complex.
SZ Scanlan knocks off 4CB
SZ Scanlan capitalized on 4CB mistakes and bad breaks, cruising to an 8-2 victory at Ricketts Park on Monday.
In the top of the first, 4CB took its first blow of the game after starting centerfielder and three-hole hitter Deion Todacheeny was ejected after stepping to the plate with a two-piece bat. Two-piece bats are legal to use in high school baseball but are not allowed in play sanctioned by the American Amateur Baseball Congress.
SZ Scanlan got on the board with a 4CB mistake when, with runners on the corners, SZ Scanlan's Jacob Defeinbaugh took off for second. Defeinbaugh's jump got 4CB pitcher Sean Sheppard to hesitate on his delivery, resulting in a balk and bringing in a run to make it 1-0.
"We committed three huge errors. Eliminating errors has been our problem, and it's hard to overcome that," 4CB head coach Shawn Mike said.
After SZ Scanlan pushed its lead to 6-0 after five innings, 4CB got on the board in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI double from Warren Scott. Later in the inning, after an attempt to pick off Leon James stealing second missed its mark and flew into the outfield, Scott scored from third.
Following the inning, head coach Alex Scanlan brought his team together as they came off the field for a quick meeting.
"It was more about not losing our focus and doing what we came here to do," Scanlan said of the meeting. "We started playing nonchalant and in baseball you can't do that. If you do that, it bites you in the butt. It was more or less getting their heads back in the game and playing the way we're supposed to be playing."
SZ Scanlan would get the runs back in the top of the seventh when 4CB tried to pick off Defeinbaugh at third and the ball sailed into left field, allowing Defeinbaugh and Trae Jaqua to score, making it 8-2.
SZ Scanlan moves on and will face the Sting today at 3 p.m. at Ricketts.
The loss drops 4CB into an elimination game against the Demons today at 5:30 p.m. at the Farmington Sports Complex.
Rivercats roll Bloomfield
The Rivercats used a six-run second inning — highlighted by a Logan Klunder grand slam, the first home run of his career — to blow by Bloomfield 9-1 at Ricketts Park on Monday.
The Rivercats wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, pushing one run across in the top of the first inning with an RBI single from Klunder.
After retiring Bloomfield in order in the bottom of the first, Orlan Warren extended the Rivercats' lead to 2-0 with an RBI single in the top of the second.
Later in the inning, with two outs on the board and the bases loaded, Bloomfield had a chance to keep things close and get out of the inning. But catcher Andrew Caliendo was hit by a pitch to bring in another run, making it 3-0.
Then came Klunder, who blasted the ball over the left field fence and blew the game open.
"When we need runs or something big, Logan has come through for us every game," Rivercats coach Clay Foster said. "That one was huge. That was his first (home run) of his career, and he was excited about that."
While the grand slam lifted the Rivercats, it was a major blow to Bloomfield.
"That was kind of the backbreaker there," Bloomfield coach Frank DeHoyos said of the home run. "With bases loaded and two outs, he hits it out of the yard and, wow. But that's baseball."
Bloomfield will play the 14ers in an elimination game today at 8 p.m. at the Farmington Sports Complex, while the Rivercats move on to play the 4C-Clubsox today at 5:30 p.m. at Ricketts.