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Thu, Aug. 22

Prep Baseball: Vols cruise to win over Coconino

Lee Williams senior Matt Bathauer allowed two earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts and three walks in six innings of work Thursday afternoon in a 13-3 victory over Coconino. (Photo by Beau Bearden/Daily Miner)

Lee Williams senior Matt Bathauer allowed two earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts and three walks in six innings of work Thursday afternoon in a 13-3 victory over Coconino. (Photo by Beau Bearden/Daily Miner)

KINGMAN – It is only one game, but the Lee Williams High School baseball team took the first step in defending its 4A Grand Canyon Region title Thursday afternoon with a convincing 13-3 win over Flagstaff’s Coconino High in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Dick Grounds Field.

“It was a great offensive game,” Vols senior Matt Bathauer said. “I think we’re better than last year with our bats. The bottom of the lineup is producing with hits. And realistically, we’re just seeing the ball well right now.”

Bathauer was instrumental at the top of the lineup as the senior went 4-for-5 with a solo home run and a two-run double.

His brother Mike added three hits and drove in a run. However, the intriguing story was Mike laying down two bunts for singles.

“That was something we were working on with coach (Patrick) O’Boyle – ‘They think you’re power hitters and that’s all you’re going to come up and do,’” Matt Bathauer said. “‘So it would be sneaky and good if you come up and laid a bunt down.’”

And that’s exactly what Mike Bathauer did with bunts that helped spark Lee Williams’ offense in a game where every batter tallied at least one hit.

“Our approaches at the plate were consistent all the way through, which was nice to see,” O’Boyle said. “Our guys are understanding they want to hit at the plate. And we were aggressive on the base paths. That kind of got our game going offensively. We stayed with it and guys really picked up after each other – kind of fed off each other.”

It not only helped keep the offense rolling, but also allowed Matt Bathauer to excel on the mound as he yielded just two earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts and three walks in six innings of work.

Even more impressive was the fact he held the Panthers (0-2, 0-1 4A Grand Canyon Region) scoreless after allowing the two runs in the first inning.

“I had to settle in after the next few innings on account that I haven’t pitched in a week.” Matt Bathauer said. “I needed to get that first inning out of the way. I was getting in my zone and kept going.”

That was the motto for the offense too, as the Vols kept tacking on runs after falling behind 2-0 following the first inning.

Lee Williams responded with three runs in the second, two more in the third and three in the fourth for a commanding 8-2 advantage it never surrendered.

“Coconino did a really nice job jumping out early – we were a little tight and you could tell,” O’Boyle said. “But we just told our guys to relax, play our game and play to our standard. We came out the rest of the way and relaxed and played our game. The results show for themselves. We’ll take the win any way we can get it.”

The Vols carried over the momentum in the nightcap by jumping out to 4-1 lead before the contest was halted in the bottom of the fifth due to daylight.

Lee Williams (2-0, 1-0 4A Grand Canyon Region) looks to keep it rolling at 1 p.m. Friday, March 15 on the road against Bradshaw Mountain (2-2, 0-1).

"We're just trying to get better each and every day," O'Boyle said. "Today we made progress in that department. We gotta have a good week of practice next week to get ready for Bradshaw and then our tournament down in Phoenix."

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