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The West Sedona School baseball team has already scored 30 runs and notched a no-hitter on its way to a
2-0 start in the Verde Valley Conference this spring.

Eighth-grader Ivan Quidera, right, slides into home to score a run for West Sedona School ahead of the tag by Big Park Community School catcher Jackson Gilmore, left, as eighth-grader Wyatt Ross waits on deck during the Wildcats’ 11-10 five-inning victory in their home opener against the Coyotes on Tuesday, March 4, at Posse Grounds Park.

Eighth-grader Michael Ortega allowed one walk that led to an unearned run in the Wildcats’ 19-1 dispatch of Mayer Elementary School on Feb. 27, before closing out Big Park Community School — coming off an 11-0 win over Beaver Creek School in its home opener — with a scoreless fifth inning to help preserve an 11-10 victory Tuesday, March 4.

“It was actually a throwing error from the catcher,” WSS head coach and athletic director Pedro Ortega Sr. said of the sole blemish on Michael Ortega’s pitching performance against Mayer. “The runner scored all the way from first base.”

Fellow eighth-grader Martin Contreras got the start against Big Park but was removed after suffering an elbow injury and allowing two runs in the first inning. First baseman Angel Betancourt, a seventh-grader, pitched three innings in relief, allowing eight runs before giving way to Ortega.

“He’s going to get checked out with a doctor on Monday,” Pedro Ortega said of Contreras. “He was still throwing from third, but his elbow started hurting and we have five kids who can throw in pitching.”

Even though WSS only touched Mayer for seven hits, the Wildcats did most of their damage with walks — 15, to be exact.

“We actually walked a lot,” Ortega said, “because they had a hard time pitching. The few times they find the strike zone is when we kind of strike.”

Michael Ortega, the team’s starting shortstop when not pitching, scored three runs, walked twice and singled in addition to striking out 12 Mayer batters.

“There are three pitches Michael knows — the fastball, curveball and change-up,” Ortega said. “He was commanding those pretty well this game.”

For the full story, please see the Friday, March 7, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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