Prep Baseball: Bulldogs waste Luke Ness’ monster outing in tie against Gila Ridge
KINGMAN – When opportunities present themselves, it’s best to capitalize – even if it’s in the first inning.
The Kingman High School baseball team had a perfect chance to take a lead Thursday afternoon, but ultimately settled for a 1-1 tie with Gila Ridge during pool play at the Big Red Construction Tournament at KHS.
“In that first inning, we let it go,” said Bulldogs head coach Chad Baitinger. “With the bases loaded and nobody out, the bottom half of the lineup needed to pick it up. We didn’t get the bat off the shoulders. Their pitcher was pumping strikes and we needed to be more aggressive at that point.”
Kingman started off the first inning with four straight hits, highlighted by Luke Ness’ RBI single to plate Connor Ocampo. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs’ bats went silent after Dante Bravo loaded the bases with a single.
The next three batters struck out and the 1-1 score held for the next four innings. It wasn’t for a lack of trying though, as Kingman finished with nine hits in the game.
Ocampo and Ness led the way with two hits, while Bravo, Rilee Araya, Zack McCray, TJ Harviston and Hayden Tanner each notched a base hit. The Bulldogs didn’t have any extra-base hits though and couldn’t capitalize on a Ness’ great outing.
The senior hurler allowed no earned runs on two hits with three strikeouts and no walks in five innings of work.
“He pitched awesome,” Baitinger said of Ness. “Just that error on the first play of the game – they score on that and then he shut them down.”
Ness was also instrumental earlier in the day as he closed out Kingman’s 3-2 victory over Mohave.
Bravo started the game and struck out 10, while yielding four hits and three walks.
Bravo helped his own cause by going 2-for-2 at the plate with a run scored. McCray, meanwhile, belted a two-run double in the bottom of the first to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead.
But that game and the entire tournament may never have happened if it wasn’t for Kingman’s hard work along with some outside help.
“On Tuesday, the field was under water with snow still on it,” said tournament director Dave Vance. “Our grounds crew did an awesome job. We had two guys come in from the community. Ron Tanner left some heavy equipment and Jake Harms spent hours on these fields.”
The Lee Williams High School baseball team was thankful for the field conditions in its opening game as it cruised to an 8-0 shutout of Youngker.
“Right now we’re just worried about getting better each and every day,” said Vols head coach Patrick O’Boyle. “It was good to see some improvement, especially at the plate today being a little more consistent – sitting back on our pitches, being more selective at what we’re swinging at. Defensively and pitching-wise, we’re doing a really good job of limiting baserunners and extra bases. As long as we can keep doing that, we’re going to be in a good position to win.”
Matt Bathauer went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with a double, while Mike Bathauer added two hits, including a triple, along with two runs scored and a RBI.
Garrett Diem rounded out the top performers as he tallied two hits, drove in a run and scored.
Mike Bathauer took care of business on the mound, allowing no runs on no hits with two strikeouts and one walk in two innings of work.
Meanwhile, Kingman Academy didn’t fare as well in a tough 2-1 loss to Lake Havasu.
The Tigers scored their lone run of the game in the fourth, but couldn’t rally back after the Knights scored in the first and second innings.
Adam Chastain, Ryan Hurley and Braden Judd each tallied a hit, while Joe Sanfilippo drove in a run.
Academy faces off with Page at 9 a.m. Friday to close out pool play and then will join Lee Williams and Kingman in bracket action starting at 11 a.m.