FARMINGTON — The 4-Corners ClubSox didn’t turn in their best performance, but it was good enough to pick up a 6-4 win over the Rivercats in an elimination game of the Connie Mack City Tournament tonight at Ricketts Park.
The ClubSox led the entire game, but the Rivercats battled and battled to stay close throughout the contest.
“That’s what I expected out of (the Rivercats). They don’t give up, and they give you everything they have and make you make plays to beat them,” ClubSox coach Brycen Campbell said. “We played OK, and Austin (Evans) pitched pretty well, but we were really bad at the plate. We got away from our approach, but we made the plays we needed to and got away with a win.”
The ClubSox took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning after Kyle DeWees, who led off the inning with an infield single before stealing second and third, scored on a Rivercats error.
4-Corners created some space in the bottom of the fourth inning. With two outs, Mikey Hooper tripled to right field, driving in Andrew Caliendo to make it 2-0. After Stone Romero drew a walk, Taed Heydinger hit back to Brendan Anderson, the Rivercats’ pitcher, but Anderson couldn’t glove the ball, leaving all the runners safe with Hooper scoring on the play.
“They don’t quite understand that they have control with the choices they make. We had several mental breakdowns,” Rivercats coach Mike McGaha said of his team. “We allowed four unearned runs, and when you compound that with a couple of walks, then all of the sudden, every mistake or bounce that doesn’t go your way ends up leaving you short.”
The Rivercats got their offense on track in the top of the sixth, scoring two runs on four hits in the inning.
After a leadoff single, Brandon Gardenhire scored on a Trent Kirally RBI. The second run came on a passed ball that allowed Devin Ferrari to score.
The Rivercats threatened with more runs in the inning, getting runners on second and third, but Evans got Dalton Martin to pop up to shortstop to end the inning.
4-Corners built its lead to 6-2 in the bottom of the sixth. With two away, Ben Tingen hit the ball down the first-base line. The ball hit off the bag to get away from Ferrari on first and allowed Hooper, who drew a walk earlier in the inning, to score from third.
During the next at-bat, Tingen stole second, and when the Rivercats made the throw from home to second to try to catch Tingen stealing, Stone Romero came in to score from third. The third run of the inning came on a DeWees RBI single that scored Tingen.
But the Rivercats wouldn't go away. In the top of the seventh, they got runs on an RBI triple from Elijah Gamboa, then an RBI from Gardenhire to make it 6-4.
With runners on first and second with no outs, the ClubSox put Hooper on the mound in relief.
Hooper struck out two of three batters he faced and got the other to ground into a fielder’s choice.
The ClubSox are the only team left in the tourney that hasn’t received a bye, so they will advance to the final, where they’ll play the winner of the Flat Bill Ducks-Strike Zone contest. Those team will play at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. The championship game is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.