Sedona Red Rock High School’s baseball team suffered its third loss on the bounce and its second in regional play at the hands of visiting Northland Preparatory Academy by a 9-3 score on Tuesday, April 3.
The Scorpions [2-6, 1-2 Central] tied it at two in the second inning, but errors on both sides of the ball proved costly in a game that head coach Craig Eagle said was crucial in the Central Region race.
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“They [NPA] made the necessary plays to get outs,” Eagle said. “We had opportunities that we squandered, we left a lot of runners on base. We weren’t able to cash in on the opportunities we had.”
Things unraveled for the hosts in the fourth inning, aided by defensive errors. Down 3-2, what was to be an inning-ending double play eventually led to a five-run deficit.
A throwing error by junior third baseman Michael Ortega kept runners safe at first and second before senior pitcher Dawson Barber hit the next batter, loading the bases.
Two batters later, Spartans senior Jacob McDaniel hit a base-clearing triple before scoring the final run of the frame on a follow-up single.
“That inning threw us a loop ... we just weren’t getting the simple outs we can make,” Eagle said. “We were making errors we shouldn’t make. I don’t know if it was a lack of focus.”
In the fifth inning Northland Prep tacked on two more runs while Red Rock scored once to make it 9-3, but also had a key chance to make it a game again in the sixth.
With the bases loaded and one out, sophomore Ryan Farmer grounded into a double play that could have turned the tide of the game in favor of the Scorpions.
The Spartans got on the board first after a shaky start from Barber, who hit the leadoff batter and walked the next three to give away the first run. He strung together three outs afterward, including two strikeouts, but the middle out was an RBI ground out to make it 2-0.
Red Rock tied it up in the second. Ortega drew a leadoff walk and later scored on a wild pitch. Sophomore Clark Borjon hit a ground ball that scored junior Winston Cox for the second run.
Barber went four innings, giving up seven earned runs on five hits and six walks with four strikeouts. Freshman Jake Hobson did not give an earned run on seven hits, zero walks and one strikeout in the final three innings.
The team looks to bounce back when it hosts Glendale Preparatory Academy in another region game at 3:45 p.m. Friday, April 7, before traveling to Joseph City High School for an 11 a.m. start on Saturday, April 8. The Scorpions beat Glendale Prep 12-1 in a nonleague matchup earlier this season.
“I hope Friday and Saturday will be a pick-me-up,” Eagle said. “To get the hitters going and the pitchers’ confidence back.”