Prep Baseball: Araya’s 1-hitter highlights Bulldogs' doubleheader sweep of Page
KINGMAN – If it was not for a snow storm in late February, the Kingman High School baseball team would already be prepping for the 3A Conference Play-In Tournament. But Mother Nature had other plans, moving a doubleheader with Page to Wednesday afternoon.
That didn’t bother the Bulldogs as they cruised to consecutive 10-0 victories in five innings due to the run rule.
“It’s a tune-up for state,” Baitinger said. “You want to be mentally in every game. This is making you a better player. If you’re going to take an at-bat off, that’s doing you no good. So you have to go up there with the same approach every at-bat.”
Kingman didn’t show that fire in Game 1 as it mustered just five hits, but managed to take an early 5-0 advantage to back Rilee Araya’s one-hitter.
The senior struck out 13, including a stretch of seven straight Ks, and didn’t walk anyone.
“That one hit honestly doesn’t mean anything. It’s baseball – it happens,” Araya said. “I could throw a perfect game all the way until the last out and that could happen. It’s just about what you do after (giving up a hit) – you have to keep working through it and see what you can do at the end of the game.”
The Bulldogs proved they could find their bark late as they entered the bottom of the fifth needing three runs to run-rule No. 29 ranked Page (6-10, 6-2 3A North Region).
Dante Bravo started off the fireworks with a triple, followed by Araya and Zach McCray being walked to load the bases.
Bravo would then steal home to move Araya and McCray to third and second, respectively.
Coleton Padilla stepped up and laced a two-run single to give the Bulldogs the walk-off win.
Connor Ocampo added a two-run single of his own in the third to round out the top performers.
The nightcap was a similar story as Kingman needed another late rally – scoring six runs in the bottom of the fifth for the win.
The difference in this contest, however, was the Bulldogs found their bats with 11 base knocks.
Bravo led the way with a 2-for-3 performance, highlighted by two doubles and two RBIs.
Luke Ness added two hits, including a double and two runs batted in, while Matt Mendez and Araya each finished with two base knocks and drove in a run.
Ness picked up the win on the mound after tossing a three-hitter with nine strikeouts and no walks in five innings of work.
No. 11 ranked Kingman concludes the regular season at 12-5 overall, 8-2 in the 3A West Region.
The Bulldogs are idle until 4 p.m. Tuesday when they host an opponent in the 3A Conference Play-In Tournament.
The bracket will be announced live at 2:30 p.m. Thursday online at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/azpreps365/evta6cf20f3ee or hours earlier on the AZPreps365 mobile application in the Apple App Store or Google Play store.