Thu Mar 30th, 2017
On a typical San Luis Valley day (meaning windy), Timmy Plehinger-Williams likely would have seen his seventh-inning shot sail over Farmer Field’s boundary in left and onto bordering Eight Mile Road.
“I just saw a pitch for me to take. Took it as best as I could, and it turned out great! I’d been looking for one all game,” he said afterwards, noting the other ‘hits’ he’d gotten in the March 25 non-leaguer came from two misplaced Sargent deliveries.
“Timmy … I thought it was gone,” said Ignacio teammate Juanito Medina. “But maybe next time! I hope to get there one of these days hopefully.”
With the possible go-ahead run aboard at second, SHS skipper Terry VanBibber instructed junior Ryan Davis – who’d two-hit the Bobcats at IHS Field a week before – to intentionally walk senior Zach Weinreich, who’d already ripped two two-baggers, scored twice and collected two RBI.
“It was just something I’d been working on all week…trying to get my hands through the ball,” Weinreich said. “As big as I am, I should be able to hit something pretty hard. It’s starting to come around, I guess!”
But with one out, VanBibber’s plan threatened to backfire when junior Kai Roubideaux – who’d struck out each of his previous three AB’s – worked for an unintentional walk to load the bases for Rendon Mestas, whose first-inning single plated both Plehinger-Williams and Weinreich for an early 2-0 advantage.
But Davis, into his fourth frame relieving starter Trevor Milne (ND; 3 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, HB, 5 K), managed to freeze the sophomore for his ninth strikeout, bringing Medina up with two away.
Bidding for another single to center, Medina cracked a hard but playable grounder to the Farmer shortstop’s left. Hoping for a quick flip to second, the fielder forgot to first secure the ball, allowing Roubideaux to hustle safely to the bag. Option No. 2 was a longer throw to get Medina at first, but the senior sped up the line in time.
Meanwhile, Plehinger-Williams (1-1, BB, 2 HBP, 3 R) raced across the plate with the go-ahead run. And though Weinreich (2-3, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI), hoping to sneak in an insurance scratch, was retired in a rally-killing rundown between third and home, the reinvigorated visitors had the necessary momentum.
“The top of the seventh… Kind of gave me the momentum to … shut down the game,” said Medina, who – working his third frame in relief of Weinreich (ND; 4 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 HB, 4 K) – would face Sargent’s 9-1-2 batters in the inning’s deciding half.
Up first was the game’s surprise, sophomore catcher Eddie Gonzales, who’d unexpectedly singled and doubled to right off Weinreich, but fanned his first time against Medina in the bottom of the fifth – when the home side tied the contest at 5-5 via Milne’s two-out single scoring Davis.
“I basically just relaxed and stayed to myself. Took out the negativity in my head of what was happening next,” said Medina, “and thought to myself, ‘Just change up the pitches every now and then.’”
“It was keeping us on pins and needles for sure,” Plehinger-Williams said, of the game’s overall intensity. “We were having a rough start at the beginning, but we got into it after our first couple hits.”
But Gonzales went down swinging, and after Davis did likewise, Medina got Hunter Younkerman to pop foul to first baseman Marcus Chapman – clinching a 6-5 road win and avenging the previous Saturday’s 14-0 loss to the then- No. 10 [CHSAANow.com Class 2A preseason poll, 3/6] Farmers.
“I threw a curve … the last pitch,” Medina (W; 3 IP, 3 H, R, 0 BB, 0 HB, 6 K) said, “and got him.”
Davis (4 IP, H, R, 4 BB, HB) took the loss for SHS, which left 12 total runners on base offensively – nine at second and/or third base – and left the sacks packed in the first and fourth innings.
“We didn’t hit the ball as good as we did the first time we played. Twice we had the bases loaded and just didn’t get the big hits we needed – throughout the whole game,” Sargent outfielder Ivan Jimenez (2-3, BB, RBI) said. “I’d say that would be the biggest factor; you don’t win a lot of ballgames leaving the bases loaded.”
“When we won fourteen to nothing…. When you don’t have errors and don’t walk people, things usually turn out pretty good,” said Milne (2-4). “Today we did o.k.; we can play a lot better.”
Gonzales and Younkerman each finished 2-for-4 for the Farmers (2-5 overall), and Christian Schaller was 1-4 with a run and RBI-double, which had initially evened the game at 2-2 after one inning.
Mestas and Medina each finished 1-for-4 as Ignacio improved to 1-3 (0-0 2A/1A San Juan Basin League), and Chapman was 0-2 but drew two walks and scored once.
“It’ll set us off pretty good,” said Mestas, looking ahead to IHS’ upcoming outings. “We didn’t play the best we could play, but…we’re getting there. We should be good by next game.”
“Got the ‘W’ and that’s all that matters,” Weinreich said. “Just got to keep working hard!”
“Focus more towards basehits,” added Medina, “and get on base, get the runs scored – more than [focusing on] the bigger hits that might come every now and then.”
Up next, the Bobcats will play a difficult split-site doubleheader on Saturday, April 1. Up first will be a trip to Hotchkiss to face the Bulldogs at noon at HMS, and after the contest concludes Ignacio will pack up for a quick drive to Paonia for a scheduled 3 p.m. start against the Eagles at Volunteer Park.
HHS stood eighth in the updated [March 27] rankings, while PHS still held down the #1 spot.