Roughriders visit Morenci on Tuesday

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Daylen Johnson (1) delivers a pitch to a Round Valley batter. The Morenci senior struck out nine, walked one, and allowed two hits while facing 26 batters during six innings. The Wildcats prevailed 10-6 over the Elks on March 22. Morenci hosts Pima on Tuesday, March 28, and heads to Willcox on Friday, March 31.

Bobcats remain atop the East Region standings

By Raymundo Frasquillo

MORENCI – The Morenci Wildcats welcome the Pima Roughriders for a region baseball game on Tuesday, March 28. It is the first meeting of the two teams this season.

In other region pairings this week (March 27-April 1), Tombstone visits Bisbee, Willcox visits Santa Rita on March 28; Bisbee visits Santa Rita, Morenci visits Willcox, and Tombstone visits Benson for a doubleheader on Friday, March 31; and Santa Rita visits Pima on Saturday, April 1.

Benson defeated Morenci 8-2 on March 27.

The lone non-region game this week is Round Valley at Benson on Wednesday, March 29.

East Region Standings

The region standings through games played on March 27 have Benson (7-9-1 overall, 6-3 seeding, 5-1 region) first, Bisbee (9-6, 5-2, 3-2) second, Pima (5-5, 3-3, 2-2) third, Morenci (5-7-1, 5-4, 3-3) fourth, Tombstone (7-5, 6-2, 3-3) fifth, Willcox (6-9, 3-4, 2-3) sixth, and Tucson Santa Rira (0-5, 0-5, 0-3) seventh.

Benson (5-1) has wins of 7-5 in eight innings over Tombstone (March 3), 12-2 in five innings over Bisbee (March 7), 11-4 over Pima (March 10), 3-0 over Morenci (March 18), and 8-2 over Morenci (March 27);

Bisbee (3-2) has wins of 19-0 in five innings over Santa Rita (March 8), 6-3 over Pima (March 14), and 10 in five innings over Morenci (March 20);

Pima (2-2) has wins of 7-3 over Tombstone (March 7) and 11-7 over Willcox (March 17);

Morenci (3-3) has wins of 19-3 in five innings over Santa Rita (March 6), 15-8 over Willcox (March 13), and 7-6 over Tombstone (March 16);

Tombstone (3-3) has wins of 22-0 in four innings win over Santa Rita (March 14), 8-0 over Willcox (March 21) and 20-0 in four innings win over Santa Rita (March 23); and

Willcox (2-3) has wins of 10-8 over Bisbee (March 23) and 6-4 over Benson (March 25).

Pima Roughriders (5-5, 3-3, 2-2)

The Nathan Miller-coached Roughriders have won three of six seeding games and two of four tourney games.

Pima defeated Tombstone 7-3 (March 7), Willcox 11-7 (March 17), and Round Valley 11-0 during six innings (March 25). The losses were 4-11 to Benson (March 10), 3-6 to Bisbee (March 14), and 0-7 to Thatcher (March 22).

The Roughriders went 2-2 in the 2-day Phoenix Country Day School tourney, defeating Camp Verde 9-8 in three innings (March 3) and host Phoenix Country Day 10-4 in four innings (March 3). The losses were 4-8 in four innings to Phoenix Christian (March 4) and 3-7 to Joseph City (March 4).

Through 10 games, the Roughriders are batting .323 (71-220) with 68 RBIs, 10 doubles, two triples, and four home runs. They have also struck out 63 times, received 47 walks, and were beaned six times.

Defensively, Morenci has a combined .899 (187-208) fielding average and turned in five double plays

The 7-member pitching corps has a combined 3.59 earned runs allowed average, yielded 26 of 52 earned runs, struck out 72, walked 30, yielded 58 hits, and beaned 21 while facing 286 batters during 50 2/3 innings.

Willcox Cowboys (6-9, 3-4, 2-3)

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Gabriel Hernandez (33) sends the ball deep into the outfield with a swing of his bat. The Morenci senior infielder is batting in the clean-up position.

The Adam Fuentes-coached Cowboys have won three of seven seeding games and three of eight tourney games.

Willcox has wins of 2-1 over Phoenix Madison Highland Prep (Feb. 27), 10-8 over Bisbee (March 23), and 6-4 over Benson (March 25). The losses are 3-5 to Thatcher (March 8), 8-15 to Morenci (March 13), 7-11 to Pima (March 17), and 0-8 to Tombstone (March 21).

The Cowboys went 1-3 during the 2-day Phoenix Bourgade Catholic tourney, with a lone of 5-1 in six innings over Payson (Feb. 24). The losses were 4-13 in six innings to Glendale Desert Heights Prep (Feb. 24), 1-15 in five innings to Arizona Lutheran (Feb. 25), and 0-15 in four innings to Lakeside Blue Ridge (Feb. 25).

Willcox also went 2-2 during the 3-day Bisbee tourney, downing Elfrida Valley Union 11-1 in five innings (March 10) and Tucson San Miguel Catholic 16-4 in four innings (March 11).

Through 13 games (not including Valley Union or Benson games), the Cowboys are batting .242 (76-314) with 37 RBIs, seven doubles, three triples, and two home runs. They have also struck out 109 times, received 51 walks, and were beaned 19 times.

Defensively, Willcox has a combined .853 (308-361) fielding average and turned in two double plays.

The six-member pitching corps has a combined 4.11 earned runs allowed average, yielded 37 of 77 earned runs, struck out 77, walked 53, yielded 68 hits, and beaned six while facing 335 batters during 63 innings.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Patrick Chavez Jr. (2) safely advances to second base ahead of the throw against Round Valley. The Morenci senior outfielder was one of five Wildcats to record a hit against the Elks, and one of two to reach first safely in each of his four plate appearances.

Morenci Wildcats (5-7-1, 5-4, 3-3)

The Christopher Aguallo-coached Wildcats won four straight games before a defeat, since going winless during their first five games.

Morenci has seeding wins of 19-3 in five innings over Santa Rita (March 6), 6-4 over Saint Johns (March 11), 15-8 over Willcox (March 13), 7-6 over Tombstone (March 16), and 10-6 over Round Valley (March 22). The losses are 7-8 to Miami (Feb. 27), 0-3 to Benson (March 18), 0-10 to Bisbee (March 20), and 2-8 to Benson (March 27).

The Wildcats went 0-3-1 in abbreviated games played during the 3-day Florence tourney. The losses were 2-10 to Winkelman Hayden (March 2), 3-4 to Show Low (March 3), and 4-8 to Florence (March 4). The tie was 1-1 with Globe (March 3).

Through 13 games, the Wildcats are batting .277 (91-329) with 55 RBIs, 11 doubles, three triples, and a home run. They have also struck out 93 times, received 34 walks, and were beaned seven times.

Defensively, Morenci has a combined .879 (305-347) fielding average and turned in seven double plays

The 11-member pitching corps has a combined 3.56 earned runs allowed average, yielded 38 of 79 earned runs, struck out 78, walked 65, yielded 69 hits, and beaned 21 while facing 391 batters during 74 2/3 innings.

March 22

Morenci – 10, Round Valley – 6

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Noah Dana (44) keeps his eyes on his catcher’s mitt as he delivers a pitch. The Round Valley junior struck out six, walked four, beaned one, and yielded nine hits while facing 28 batters during 4 2/3 innings in Morenci.

The Wildcats broke a 2-2 deadlock by scoring five runs in the fifth with no outs, and sending nine batters to the plate before three outs were recorded. Senior Patrick Chavez Jr. reached first after striking out, junior designated hitter Michael Casillas reached first on an error, senior Emilio Roybal singled in Chavez (3-2), junior Anthony Ballesteros singled in both Casillas and Roybal (5-2), senior Daylen Johnson doubled in freshman courtesy runner Jaymz Guzzo (6-2), and Johnson (7-2) crossed the plate as senior Gabriel Hernandez reached first on an error. The next three Wildcats each recorded an out and Hernandez was left on third.

Morenci nearly added five more runs in the fifth with two outs, but a strikeout stranded two Wildcats, and only three (10-2) came in.

Round Valley sent nine batters up in the seventh with no outs after a Morenci pitching change, scored four runs (10-6), but left two on following three strikeouts.

The visiting Elks started the scoring with lead-off freshman batter Jeffery Cochran singling on and scoring on a throwing error, clean-up senior batter Treyson Merrill reaching first on a fielder’s choice and singled in by junior Aaron Rogers with two outs. A fielding error and a strikeout left two on. Round Valley sent five batters up in the second, the first two striking out, reached first on an error and a walk but left stranded them on a fly out.

Morenci scored two in the second to tie, with walked Christopher Carbajal and Chavez reaching first on an error, both coming in. The Wildcats’ first inning had the lead-off batter singling on and getting caught stealing second, followed by a strikeout, a single, and a strikeout.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Michael Casillas (7) gets a base running lesson from head coach Christopher Aguallo at third base. The Morenci junior designated hitter was one of four Wildcats to score twice against the Elks.

The Wildcats batted .226 (7-31), stranded 10 runners, and committed eight errors compared to .161 (5-31), seven runners, and nine errors by Round Valley.

Johnson batted 1.000 (2-2), Roybal .400 (2-5, RBI), Chavez .333 (1-3, double), Ballesteros (2 RBI) and Hernandez (double, RBI) both .250 (1-4).

On the mound, Johnson struck out nine, walked one, and yielded two hits while facing 26 batters during six innings. Senior reliever Derek Saenz struck out three, walked one, and allowed two hits while facing nine batters during one inning.

For Round Valley, junior Ridge Knight (double, RBI) and Cochran both batted .500 (2-4) and Rogers .333 (1-3).

On the mound, junior Noah Dana struck out six, walked four, beaned one, and yielded nine hits while facing 28 batters during 4 2/3 innings. Junior reliever Ryker Marble struck out three, walked one, beaned one, and allowed a lone hit while facing nine batters during 1 1/3 innings.

March 20

Bisbee – 10, Morenci – 0 (5 inn.)

It was not the kind of road trip outing coaches envision, hope for, or want to occur. Numerous mental errors as well as fielding errors also played a part in the loss.

The Wildcats went three up and three down in all five innings, with only Daylen Johnson and Gabriel Hernandez singling on, but neither reaching third.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Emilio Roybal (24) returns to first ahead of the pick-off attempt. The Morenci senior lead-off batter stole twice in three attempts against the Elks.

As soon as the 10th run was scored, the game was called on the Run Rule.

Bisbee went three up and three down in the first inning, sent only four batters up in both the second and third yet scored a run in each, erupted for seven in the third, and added the game-ending run with two outs as the fifth batter having a 1-1 count.

At the plate, Johnson and Hernandez both batted.500 (1-2).

On the mound, Nelson struck out three, walked three, yielded six hits and four sacrifices, and had three earned runs while facing 25 batters during 4 2/3 innings.

For Bisbee, senior Victor Ramirez (3-3, triple, RBI) and sophomore Bryceton Meyer (1-1, RBI) both batted 1.000, sophomore Sabation Lopez (sac, 2 RBIs), sophomore Horacio Olivaria (sac), sophomore Bryan Martinez (sac, RBI), and senior Tyler McBride (RBI) .500 (1-2) apiece, junior Jose Mendez .333 (1-3, RBI), and senior Diego Chavez 0-1 (sac).

Mendez went the distance on the mound for the Pumas, striking out five, walking none, and allowing two hits while facing 15 batters during five innings. He needed only 53 pitches including 17 strikes and 18 balls resulting in five strikeouts, eight ground outs, and two fly outs.