2/13/2013 11:06:00 PM Roughriders rally with walk-off grand slam to cap 9-run 9th inning
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier Yavapai’s Kyle Toth waits on a throw to tag Salt Lake’s Bryan Heward Wednesday afternoon at Bradshaw Mountain High School. Toth would later be the second game’s hero.
The Daily Courier
It would take an epic finish to stay perfect.
Was it ever.
The Yavapai College baseball team pulled off the impossible Wednesday afternoon, plating nine runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, capped by a walk-off grand slam from sophomore Kyle Toth. The wild outburst resulted in a 10-8 win over No. 17-ranked Salt Lake, in the second game of a doubleheader that opened with the unranked Roughriders winning 4-3.
"They were out of their minds. They were pretty excited," YC interim head coach Ryan Cougill said of the emotion at home plate following Toth's big blast. "Obviously I had to bring the energy down and control them a bit. They got pretty excited, and well-deserved."
Yavapai improved to 7-0 on the young season. They open their ACCAC schedule this Saturday with a twinbill at South Mountain.
The Roughriders trailed 8-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday afternoon in Prescott Valley. The doubleheader was originally scheduled for the team's home field at Roughrider Park in Prescott, but with that surface deemed unplayable due to the recent snowfall, the games were switched to Bradshaw Mountain High School.
The rally started with one out.
Toth reached base on a walk, and later came around to score the first run of the inning on a single by sophomore Aaron Blair (Queen Creek).
Later in the inning, the Roughriders loaded the bases after a walk to sophomore Krysthian Leal (Yuma). Freshman Alexis Olmeda (Fajardo, Puerto Rico) lined a double to left-center field to bring in two more runs to cut the deficit to 8-5. Sophomore Humberto Aranda (Prescott), pinch-hitting for freshman Austin Orth (Fort Collins, Colo.), delivered a double down the right field line to plate two more runs.
Salt Lake walked two more runners to load the bases again, bringing Toth to the plate for the second time in the inning. On his very first pitch, the Chaparral High School product lined a shot that cleared the fence in left-center for the walk-off.
In the midst of the mayhem, his teammates mobbed Toth so much on his way to home plate that he technically never did score his run, making the final official score 10-8 without counting his would-be 11th run.
Toth finished the game 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Olmeda and Aranda both contributed two RBIs. Freshman Brandon Matthews (Tucson) picked up the win, throwing one inning and striking out two.
The doubleheader opened with a win for Yavapai, which used a three-run fifth inning to break open a 1-1 tie. Salt Lake rallied with two in its half of the seventh but fell short.
Sophomore Peter Lenstrohm (Paradise Valley) got the first-game starting nod and fanned four in four innings. Freshman Kamalu Kamoku (Honolulu, Hawaii) got the win in one inning of work.
Aranda collected a double and two RBIs.
The Roughriders will test their perfect run this weekend at South Mountain, where sophomore Jake Doyle (Glendale) and sophomore Ryan Petersen (Rancho San Diego, Calif.) get the starting calls on the mound.
Cougill took over as head coach after longtime Roughrider coach Sky Smeltzer stepped down this past November. The athletic department has said it will conduct a national search for a permanent replacement when the season ends this spring.
Although he's making a strong early case in 2013, the interim coach is being cautiously optimistic.
"Seven games in I'm not getting too crazy about it," Cougill said of the streak. "But they obviously play well together and they obviously compete until the last out is made."
Cougill will widen the early-season pitch counts for his staff this weekend to the upper 80s/low 90s. And the starting positions, too, remain competitive in the early going.
"I'm not really sold on any particular lineup, which is a good problem," Cougill added. "And then we've got another concern in that it really doesn't matter how you start your season, when you open conference it's a brand new season."