Sports Stories

The Sedona Red Rock High School baseball team scored early, and at least four runs in every inning, en route to a 17-7 mercy-rule win over visiting Anthem Preparatory Academy on Tuesday, March 7.

The Scorpions saw an 8-1 lead cut to 8-7 in third inning, but tightened up their defense while pouring in nine more runs to seal the win.

“Game by game, inning by inning almost, we’re having to just learn and get more experience out here,” Scorpions head coach Craig Eagle said. “We’re facing a team that’s a lower division than us and our hitters hit the ball. The guys I knew could hit, hit the ball today.”

Consecutive four-run innings gave the team a comfortable 8-1 lead in the second inning against the Eagles, who were struggling to collect hits.

But they caught some momentum in the third. Back-to-back hits followed by back-to-back walks made it 8-2 and put senior pitcher Dawson Barber in a jam. He then gave up three runs on a throwing error to first after allowing two to score on the previous play.

“I felt pretty good, it was a little rough to start, but we picked it up as a team,” Barber said.

The Red Rock bats did just that, quickly coming to the rescue to pick Barber up.

Leadoff hitter senior Randy Rodriguez drew a walk and stole second. He stole third then scored on the same play as junior center fielder Winston Cox drew a walk and the ball got past Eagles junior catcher Matthew Beeman.

Junior catcher Wyatt Ross collected his third RBI to plate Cox while chasing Eagles senior starting pitcher Anthony Marrama.

Junior third baseman Michael Ortega got to senior reliever Kyle Connolly with his third RBI, and a string of stolen bases, an error, a passed ball and an RBI single saw the lead swell to 13-7, all still with no outs.

“We want to be aggressive out here especially with these types of teams where we want to get as many runs as we possibly can and stay ahead of them,” Eagle said.

Red Rock freshman reliever Jake Hobson took the mound for the final two innings, recording his first strikeout to end the fourth.

He got things going in the fifth by drawing a leadoff walk. Rodriguez singled and Hobson found home when Ross hit a popfly that the Anthem Prep defense let fall.

Two walks sandwiching a two-run RBI single saw Red Rock eclipse the 10-run advantage.

Hobson gave up a single then struck out the next three to end the game.

“Today Jake went out and threw strikes, that’s all I needed, just needed him to throw strikes. He’ll get batters out,” Eagle said.

Five hits amounted to four runs as the hosts batted around in the first inning alone. Ross hit a two-run RBI triple then crossed home on the next play, a single off the bat of Ortega. Sophomore left fielder Ryan Farmer knocked a triple to drive home the fourth.

The team still lacks a bit of situational awareness, for example base runners tagging up with two outs.

“That’s the experience level, that’s what were trying to practice every day with them, just making sure they’re aware of the situation,” Eagle said.

The team totaled 17 hits, with Ortega, Ross and Walker Cox each getting three along with three RBI. Ortega and Ross each scored four runs. Barber gave up seven earned runs on six hits with four walks and five strikeouts in three innings to earn the win. Hobson gave up one hit, one walk and struck out three.

Getting the first win, according to Eagle, will provide a boost to the team moving forward.

“I’m happy we got a win, especially our first home win, that’s important to us ... we just want to take it game by game and get as many W’s as we can,” Eagle said.