Sports Stories

Sedona Red Rock High School’s baseball team rounded out its home schedule on Thursday, April 13, with a 19-2, five-inning loss to Bagdad High School, the No. 2 team in Conference 1A.

Twelve hits and 11 runs by the visiting Sultans create an insurmountable advantage after the first inning. The Scorpions [3-9, 2-3 Central] scored in the first and the third innings.

“They just hit the ball, they were placing it where we weren’t,” Red Rock head coach Craig Eagle said. “They were great. That first inning was pretty amazing, they just kept hitting spots where we weren’t and it kept going and going and going.”

While Scorpions seniors Dawson Barber and Walker Cox played the last home game of their careers, freshman Michael Lagorio was continuing his first year on the mound.

Bagdad, ninth in batting average, fourth in slugging and fourth in on-base percentage across all divisions of the Arizona Interscholastic Association, got to work quickly with a leadoff triple.

Three singles and a triple later, Red Rock secured the first out, but not before four Sultan runs had already crossed home plate.

Seven more hits led to seven more runs before the scoring streak was halted. In the bottom half of the frame, Scorpions junior Michael Ortega scored Lagorio, who had reached from the leadoff spot, a role he has assumed the last four games.

“I think he’s [Lagorio] just aggressive, he’s not afraid of whoever is up there, he’s just going up hacking,” Eagle said. “That’s been definitely one of the bright spots is his performances at the plate for sure. He’ll grow as a better pitcher as he ages.”

Ortega stretched his RBI streak to four consecutive games.

At the start of the second inning, the first two Bagdad batters were put out, but the visitors still managed to open a seven-hit streak that led to seven more runs.

Lagorio again singled in the third, and was followed up by sophomore Seth Farmer and junior Wyatt Ross before Ortega drew a walk that forced in the team’s second run. But a fly out and a ground out prevented anything more; six batters were left on base for the game.

The proof of Red Rock’s inability to bring runners home is in the numbers. In Conference 2A, the team is third in on-base percentage, sixth in slugging and 10th in batting average, but 19th in RBI.

“That tells you a lot, that tells you the story of not driving in the runners we need,” Eagle said. “That’s the timely hitting that we’re missing I think. We’re getting the base runners on but we’re not cashing in.”

Against the Sultans, Eagle said that the Scorpions faced one of the best pitchers they have seen all season in senior Ben Loveall, who commanded the strike zone with his fastball and curveball. Loveall finished with 10 strikeouts, seven of them looking.

Ross is one of the offensive leaders in Conference 2A this season: Sixth in batting average at .558, 11th in slugging at .837 and third in on base percentage at .655. His batting average and OBP are good for 18th and 13th in the entire state, too. Ross has only struck out three times all season, the first coming on April 8 against Joseph City High School.

Ortega is 12th in batting average at .521 and 12th in on base percentage at .610 in the conference as well.

Note: In the Wednesday, April 19 print edition, Randy Rodriguez was incorrectly reported to have played. He was no longer on the team prior to the game.