Photo by JC Amberlyn.
KINGMAN - Lee Williams showed this week that pitching is its strength. The Volunteers got their third complete game with their third different pitcher Thursday in an 8-1 Division III, Section V win over Kingman at LWHS.
Russell Cottrell backed up the efforts of Paul Giglio and Carter Rhoades with his own complete game. Cottrell earned the win pitching seven innings and allowing one run on four hits and two walks. He struck out 10 Bulldogs.
"I got ahead early. My fastball was working really good," Cottrell said. "I kept it low. The off-speed really threw them off."
The staff gave up only four runs in three games this week as Giglio beat Mohave 3-1 on Tuesday, and Rhoades took down River Valley 3-2 Wednesday. Lee Williams is now 8-3 and 2-0 in Section V, tied only with Chino Valley (6-8, 2-0) for first place.
Three consecutive singles to start the third inning got the Volunteers rolling against Kingman (2-7, 1-1). Giglio, Rhoades, and Nate Cottrell each had a hit, Kenyon Rowley drove in Cottrell with a sacrifice fly to left field, and a two-base error on Cottrell's line-drive single gave Lee Williams an early 3-0 lead.
Kingman pitcher Rilee Araya tried to help his own cause when he led off the fourth with a solo home run for the Bulldogs. Singles by Colton Stanley and David Gonzalez, and a walk to Luke Ness put Kingman in the midst of little rally, but courtesy runner Tanner Best was thrown out at the plate by center fielder Colin McMullen to end the threat.
The home run didn't sit well with Cottrell, who didn't allow a hit over the last three innings.
"I was pretty upset," the right-hander said. "Especially when I give up a home run to a freshman. It really upsets me."
Senior catcher Kenyon Rowley had been mired in a little slump, but his solo home run to the middle of Beale Street in the fourth for Lee Williams may have gotten him out of it.
"I had to make adjustments," Rowley said. "I wasn't making adjustments, and I finally made adjustments."
Rowley said he knew it was going over the fence immediately.
"Out of his hand I saw it like a beach ball and just cranked it," the catcher said. "I finally got my hands up."
Giglio, Nate Cottrell and Matt Shaw each went 2-for-4. Giglio had a triple and three runs scored, Cottrell doubled and drove in two, and Shaw had a double and one run batted in. Rowley was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Araya took the loss for Kingman. He went 4 1/3 innings and surrendered five runs, three earned, on seven hits and four walks. He struck out four. Luke Ness relieved and pitched 1 2/3 innings giving up three runs, one earned, on three hits. He struck out one.
Gonzalez went 2-for-3 for the Bulldogs.
"Today we didn't beat ourselves," said KHS baseball coach Chad Baitinger. "We got beat by an older and better team. We didn't hit the ball well."
A week like this has the pitching staff in a groove as they get ready for a showdown with Lake Havasu (5-6, 1-1) in a key Section V game Tuesday in Lake Havasu City.
"Our pitching staff had done pretty great this year," Russell Cottrell said. "We keep working to improve, just keep getting better. We've got Havasu and we're going (there) to beat them."
Kingman next plays at Coconino (2-7) in a Division III game Monday in Flagstaff.