City Tourney: ClubSox advance with 11-0 win

Karl Schneider

FARMINGTON — The 4-Corners ClubSox completed their second straight shutout while facing elimination from the Connie Mack City Tournament, beating the Halos 11-0 tonight at Ricketts Park.

Brandon Atkins pitches for the 4-Corners ClubSox during their Connie Mack City Tournament game against the Halos on Wednesday at Ricketts Park.

In the win, the Sox allows just four base runners with pitcher Brandon Atkins giving up two hits, walking one and hitting one batter.

“Brandon did a great job mixing up his pitches, and our pitching staff now has two shutouts in a row,” ClubSox’s coach Brycen Campbell said. “And we played great defense and rolled a couple of double plays behind him.”

The ClubSox got their offense going in the second inning, sending 10 batters to the plate in the inning. After an error and a hit batter put two on with one out, the Sox put together back-to-back-to-back RBI singles, then got a two-RBI double from Jason Herrera to push the lead to 5-0.

“We’ve been talking all summer about having our approach at the plate at a high level, not just going up there and swinging the bat,” Campbell said. “The good teams win by getting the two-out RBIs and having quality at-bats, and not just banging home runs. Good teams get good hits, so we’ve been working on having a good approach and shrinking the strike zone.”

The Halos threatened in the bottom of the second, advancing runners to second and third, but came away with nothing.

4-C added to its lead in the fifth, scoring six runs while the Halos committed multiple errors in the inning.

Halos’ coach Pedro Tom said that he thinks the wild finish the Halos had in a 3-2 win over the Pumpjacks Tuesday night and the traveling some of his players have to do to get to the game played an issue in the team’s errors.

“It was just a different kind of atmosphere for the boys coming out here today and playing the early game because some of these kids have to travel 100 miles just to get here. I think that took a lot out of them,” Tom said.

Reaching the third round of the tournament was a feat in and of itself for the Halos, who didn’t win a game all season a year ago.

The Halos' Cameron Begay throws to first base during a game against the 4-Corners ClubSox on Wednesday at Ricketts Park.

“Looking back all the way to last year, the guys showed a lot of improvement. The kids matured a lot and knew how to handle situations a lot better,” Tom said. “We won some games this year, and the win (Tuesday) night in the City Tournament, and I think they’re starting to get the idea that anybody is beatable.”

The ClubSox will play the Fuel at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Ricketts Park.

Strike Zone 17, KC Storm 1

When Strike Zone took the field tonight against the KC Storm, the club looked like a different team than it had so far during the Connie Mack City Tournament, crusing the Storm with a 17-1 victory at the Farmington Sports Complex.

Strike Zone’s meeting against the Storm in an elimination game came after the team dropped a 5-3 decision to the Rivercats Tuesday, and Strike Zone assistant Damion Lovato said the team made drastic improvements between the two games.

“Today, we completely refocused our strategy,” he said. “We faced similar pitching, really similar everything, but our approach at the plate was a lot better, and we had a lot more confidence on the field. (Tuesday) we were playing to not lose, which sometimes bites you in the butt. Today, a completely different team came to play, and the result was much better.”

Leading Strike Zone to the win was pitcher Zac Van Duran, who plays with most of the Storm’s roster during the high school season at Kirtland Central High School.

“He wanted (to pitch against) his team, and we gave him the opportunity, and he did really well,” Lovato said of Van Duran’s performance.

Lovato said the team as a whole played “clean baseball” with Van Duran filling up the strike zone and the defense making every play behind him.

Strike Zone will have a bye during the fourth round and won’t play again until Friday. But Lovato said the team will put in plenty of work during its off day to remain sharp for the team it faces in the fifth round.

“They’ll definitely be getting a good workday in (Thursday),” Lovato said. “When we show up to the field prepared the results are good, so (Thursday) will be a good day to get prepared for the rest of the week.”

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.