FARMINGTON – The Farmington baseball team picked up a key win for its momentum and confidence at the Coach Bob Invitational, knocking off Phoenix’s Arcadia 5-1 Thursday night in Phoenix.
“To come out tonight and win, and knowing we have to play two tough clubs tomorrow, we’ll take any win we can,” Farmington head coach Sean Trotter said. “There are two compliments you get as a coach when you leave the field and talk to another coach — one is that your kids hustle, and two is that they fight. And they absolutely battled tonight.”
Farmington’s pitching and fielding were the difference in the game.
Taylor Nakai pitched 5 and 1/3 innings and held Arcadia to four hits while striking out five batters before Isaiah Royce came in and finished the game.
“Taylor Nakai was outstanding. He’s been very good for us most of his outings, and tonight he was phenomenal. He commanded the strike zone, pounded the strike zone and threw a changeup for a strike all night long,” Trotter said. “Then Isaiah Royce came in, threw his first pitch to the back stop, and settled in after that. Those two were great.”
Behind Nakai and Royce, the Scorps played a clean game, not committing any errors, and Trotter said the defense “made every play they had to.”
Offensively, Farmington executed small ball to perfection, scoring its five runs on just four hits, three of which were bunts. The Scorps also stole five bases during the game.
“When you have four hits and three of them don’t leave the infield, you have to find a way to win with that, and they did. They did a great job tonight,” Trotter said.
Farmington will play twice today, taking on Arizona’s Liberty High in the afternoon, then Willow Canyon in the evening.
Littleton, Colo., 8, Piedra Vista 0
Heritage, Ariz., 5, Piedra Vista 3
Piedra Vista ran into a couple strong pitchers and dropped two games at the Coach Bob Invitational in Phoenix Thursday.
The Panthers fell in their first game 8-0 to Littleton, Colo.’s Heritage 8-0, then lost to Phoenix’s Pinnacle 5-3.
PV was able to get runners in scoring position against Heritage, but left the bases loaded once, and left runners on second and third base twice. Defensively, the Panthers committed five errors behind starting pitcher Orlan Warren, who gave up two earned runs.
“It was actually a good effort versus a good team, and we learned a lot about ourselves today,” PV head coach Mike McGaha said of the Heritage game.
Against Pinnacle, the Panthers saw another pitcher who threw 87 to 90 mph, similar to the Heritage game, and only registered two hits. But the biggest problem in the 5-3 loss was PV committing two errors that allowed three unearned runs in the first inning.
Despite the miscues, McGaha said the team played hard and represented the program well.
The Panthers will close out their time at the tournament today against Bend, Ore.
Aztec 9, Belen 4
Belen 14, Aztec 4
Aztec split its doubleheader with Belen, beating the Eagles 9-4 in the first game before losing 14-4 in the second game Thursday in Belen.
“The kids played really hard, but just didn’t have enough in them,” Aztec head coach Wes Laplatt said.
The Tigers also saw four starters go down with injuries in the loss.
In the first game, Laplatt said Kyler Duggins pitched well, throwing six innings while striking out seven batters. He gave up three hits and three walks. Bradley Maestas earned the save, striking out two of the three batters he faced.
Laplatt said the Tigers came up with timely hits in the first game to keep a lead against the Eagles.
Aztec will host Albuquerque Academy on April 1.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.