When his baseball team from Cave Creek Cactus Shadows scored three times in the bottom of the sixth inning to build an eight-run lead on Saturday (April 19), coach Gaetano Gianni probably didn’t even think that the Falcons would need those extra runs against visiting Glendale Apollo.
But Gianni has been around long enough and been involved in more than enough games that he was not surprised when the Falcons did end up requiring that extra boost.
Cactus Shadows managed to survive a six-run outburst by Apollo in the seventh inning and held on for a 12-10 victory in Division II play. Apollo had runners at third and second base when the game ended.
Cactus Shadows, ninth in D-11 power points, climbed to 15-9. Apollo, at No. 12, fell to 16-6.
“In high school baseball, no lead is big enough,’’ Gianni said. “So am I surprised about what happened? No.’’
He said his team has played well all season and has fought through various injuries.
“We’re young and we’ve had some injuries,’’ he said. “Every game, it seems like we have had someone new step it up. We have had contributions from everybody.’’
The biggest contributions on Saturday came from Jacob Muelich and Tyler Phillips. Each connected for a two-run home run.
Muelich’s shot came in the bottom of the first inning, in which the Falcons scored three runs to erase an early 3-0 lead by Apollo.
Phillips’ long ball came in a five-run second inning. Conrad Jarvis also hit a two-run double.
Phillips, the team’s catcher, gave a gutsy effort. He was hit in the wrist by a pitch in the third inning but remained in the game, and was hit again in the fifth, leaving the Cactus Shadows dugout none too pleased. Phillips had an ice pack strapped to his wrist afterward.
Meanwhile, right-hander Matt Atkinson allowed Apollo to score just one other run before being relieved in the sixth inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Jarvis hit another two-run double and Ryan Mink a run-scoring single to provide Cactus Shadows with those important insurance runs.
Apollo made it close in the top of the seventh on a pair of bases-loaded walks a sacrifice fly, four errors and a run-scoring double by Ivan Torres.