Baer, Manzanares wreak havoc from the top of the Pumpjacks lineup
FARMINGTON — The Pumpjacks baseball team is starting to click.
After dropping their first four Connie Mack City League games, the Pumpjacks are now winners of five straight after pummeling the KC Storm 11-3 tonight at Ricketts Park in Farmington.
Farmington High School junior Jac Cordova pitched a gem for the Pumpjacks, whose offense put on a base-stealing exhibition with 11 swipes.
Pumpjacks coach Nick Clayton said he wasn't trying to exploit the Storm in any way; his team was simply doing what it always does.
"That's definitely our approach, we've got a lot of team speed," Clayton said. "We try and stay aggressive on the bags. It really wasn't anything to do with their catcher, it's just our strategy."
The Storm, which is now 0-3, sent Kirtland Central's Kesean Joe out to the mound, and the senior was rocked for six earned runs in the first two innings alone. Joe issued four free passes on the day and generally had a hard time finding the strike zone. Storm coach Bryan Wardroup thought Joe was both intimidated and rusty.
"He's been out of town all week. He just got back from vacation," Wardroup said of Joe. "He hasn't thrown a bullpen (session) since the (high school) season was over. But I thought he did a decent job of settling down in the third and fourth inning."
Joe let in just one run over his final two innings of work. Coby Baer and Anthony Manzanares, the Pumpjacks table setters, did their jobs today, getting on base a combined five times and coming around to score each time.
Manzanares had been scuffling at the plate coming into the game, but his 3 for 4 performance was the slump breaker his coach was looking for.
"He's someone that we look to to get on base, to be a catalyst," Clayton said. "He's been struggling at the dish, but I think he's just been trying to force things."
Cordova, a 15-year-old, was on top of his game for the Pumpjacks. He constantly worked ahead of hitters, earning nine strikeouts in just four innings of work. He walked three and gave up two hits in the outing.
Clayton said he hopes for more of the same from Cordova going forward, even into next school year.
"He's going to be an arm for us. He's someone we're trying to develop for the future," he said. "Lot of strikeouts today, but he's a ground ball pitcher. He keeps the ball down."
Devin Williamson and Cutter Mathews saw time in relief for the Pumpjacks. The Storm got to Williamson a bit, as Brock Beckstead and Zander Dale managed an RBI apiece off him in the fifth inning.
Like Joe, the Storm offense settled in as the game progressed. A better, more disciplined approach from the plate brought them three runs in the fourth and fifth. Wardroup said he's trying to get his players to play the right way, no matter who is staring them down from the opposing dugout.
"I'm not even worried about what the other team's doing or who they've got. We're concerned with what our approach is and what things we can do as individual players to further ourselves," he said. "We want to take care of what we can take care of. If you're the pitcher, throw the ball in the strike zone. If you're in the field, take care of the routine plays. If we do those things, and we still end up getting blown out, I'll be happy at the end of the day."
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.