Navajo Prep loses big to Laguna Acoma
FARMINGTON – The Shiprock baseball team brought its bats to Friday's home tilt against San Juan, Utah, but unfortunately for the Chieftains, so did the Broncos.
A back-and-forth contest finished up in extra innings, with San Juan scoring twice in the top of the ninth to take Shiprock's regular-season finale by a final score of 14-12 at Shiprock High School.
The Broncos (12-9) chased Shiprock starter Dylan Begay from the game in the fourth inning by scoring five times and taking a 7-6 lead. Chieftains coach Alfred Baer said his ace isn't used to getting beaten up and may have let it creep into his head.
"San Juan's a good team at getting the ball in play, and I don't know, maybe it affected Dylan's confidence," Baer said. "He doesn't get hit like that very often."
Zander Dale, who has been sizzling hot with 10 hits in his last 11 trips to the plate, helped the Chiefs (20-5, 7-3 District 1-4A) go up 10-7 before the visitors fought back to retie it in the top of the seventh.
Cameron Phillips pitched six innings in relief and had mixed results. After allowing five Bronco runs in the seventh, he bounced back to strike out the side in the eighth before running back into trouble in the ninth.
The bottom of Shiprock's lineup couldn't get it done in the last half inning, and the Broncos walked away with their second win in as many tries over the Chieftains this season, having topped them 9-3 on March 19.
Baer said the offensive output was encouraging, especially since his team managed only three runs when the teams first met. He also thought his players showed heart.
"I was talking to their coaches, and they were complimentary of us. They said, 'You guys wouldn't stop battling,'" Baer said. "They didn't let up, but neither did we. They've just got some big kids who can really make contact, really just get the bat out there."
A day after striking out 11 Wingate batters, Aarwin Chee did his damage from the plate on Friday, going 4 for 5 with three runs scored.
The Chieftains will now wait to see where they fall in the round of 16 when state tournament brackets are released on Sunday. Baer predicted his team would earn a seed in the 8 to 10 range.
"We're hoping to host a game, but I think that's pretty optimistic," he said. "I think the (loss) against Kirtland was huge. If we would have won that, we would have almost been guaranteed to host a game. But, you know, anything can happen in the state tournament. It just looks like we'll be starting it on the road."
Laguna Acoma 15, Navajo Prep 2
Laguna Acoma 12, Navajo Prep 1
The Eagles couldn't upset Laguna Acoma in a Friday doubleheader and capture the District 1-3A title, falling 15-2 and 12-1 on the road.
Navajo Prep finished with a record of 9-9-1 (2-2 in 1-3A), while the Hawks end up at 17-2 and 4-0 in the district.
Eagles coach Austin Rochford could not be reached for comment after the games.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.