Sedona Red Rock High School’s young baseball team played tough defense early on but ultimately gave senior-heavy Verde Valley rival Camp Verde High School the momentum, and runs needed to take a 9-0 decision on Tuesday,
The Scorpions [3-10, 2-4 Central] came up against strong pitching in Cowboy senior Carson Zale along with a relentless defense that did not commit a single error.
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“I’m happy that we did what we did against a fully senior team,” Red Rock head coach Craig Eagle said. “I know we really didn’t come to hit too much, but [Zale] was throwing a great curveball.... It’s a tough pitch for any high school team.”
Red Rock’s defense came to play in the rivalry matchup. In the first inning it was faced with a runner on third with one out, but a strikeout by senior pitcher Walker Cox and a fly out killed the threat. Consecutive walks and a single put the Scorpions in a second-inning bind, but Camp Verde grounded out to sophomore shortstop Clark Borjon, who was tested throughout the afternoon.
In the fourth inning the Cowboys had runners at first and second with no outs. Cox and junior catcher Wyatt Ross kept them off the board with a fielder’s choice before the infield turned a run-saving double play.
Borjon, along with freshman second baseman Jake Hobson, freshman first baseman Michael Lagorio and junior third baseman Michael Ortega formed a young infield that held its own.
Until the fifth inning.
Cowboys senior John Castillo singled to leadoff the inning. Cox threw a pickoff attempt into the dirt that allowed Castillo to reach third base, and the momentum shifted from there.
A sacrifice fly plated Castillo, but two more Cowboys reached on a single and another Scorpions error. Two more hits opened a 4-0 lead.
“Walker threw a great game I would say,” Eagle said. “He would’ve been out of that inning in the fifth if we made that one play.”
Camp Verde continued to play defense, converting a double play of their own in the following frame.
Red Rock had two baserunners on three different occasions, but never came up with a clutch hit.
The Cowboys scored five runs in the sixth inning and held the Scorpions scoreless in the sixth to seal the deal. Ross picked up the only two hits on the day, and the visitors left a total of six runners on base.
“It was a good game, we played good,” Borjon said. “I think we need to play more offense because we have to keep practicing for next year. We have a young team. We have to keep playing the next three games to try to win the games.”
At Northland Preparatory Academy on Wednesday, April 19, Red Rock dropped an 8-2 decision. It next plays against Glendale Preparatory Academy at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, at Maryvale Baseball Stadium, the Milwaukee Brewers’ spring training park. The season finale will be at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, at Ash Fork High School.
It was reported on Wednesday, April 19, that senior Randy Rodriguez played in the senior game on April 13, but he was already not on the team by then.