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Central moves on to Western District Regionals in a thriller

Central moves on to Western District Regionals in a thriller

So here we are.

The Central Arizona College Vaqueros figured out how to get through a regular season of bad injuries and other adversities ("things" says the head coach)...tweaking tweaking and tweaking....game by game by game.

It was a post-season sweep of the number one seed Cochise Apaches first, and then a complete battle with the number 2 seed Yavapai Roughriders ending with a game three extra inning thriller.

These post-season games were moved to Paradise Valley Community College because of unplayable conditions at should-have-been host Yavapai, and the Riders took game one before the Vaqueros toughed out the final two games, the Region I Championship game going a full ten innings.

The final was 7-4.

All seven Vaquero runs came with long ones, a three run blast from Clayton Keyes, and two more from Zach Hogueisson.

Trailing 3-0 after four innings, it was Keyes that hit one out after a Jake Meyer double and Liam Spence walk to tie the game at three. No doubt about this one-it went a long way.

"That gave us a little bit of life" said the head coach Anthony Gilich.

In the bottom of the fifth, Yavapai put a couple of runners on and scored one with Jonathan Stroman on the mound (6K's) and in came Zane Strand.

Again.

Strand threw lights out in game two the day before to preserve a Vaqueros win and let's go with who's hot.

And the hot stayed hot. Three of the four play-off wins were Strands to tell you something.

The Roughriders changed pitchers in the top of the sixth with a 4-3 lead and Hogueisson hit the first pitch out to tie the game at four.

The baseball game stayed that way through nine. Strand gave up three meaningless hits, did not walk a batter and struck out five Roughriders in the process, and was awarded the Regional MVP.

In the top of the 10th, Keyes drew a walk, and after a sharp single from Ernny Ordonez, up comes Hogueisson

The bench erupted the second they heard the crack of the bat because everyone knew. One of those long, high ones that sailed over the right field fence. The Hoguie three-run homerun gave Central a three run lead and Strand faced three batters in the bottom of the tenth.

After a lead-off single, Josh Dudden fielded the ground ball, tapped second and threw to first for the game ending double play.

Central Arizona now moves on to the Western Distric Regionals next week to play the winner of today's game between Lamar College of Colorado and Western Nebraska. The Western District Regionals are now set for the four team double elimination tournament to see who advances to the JUCU World Series in Grand Junction.

The four are Lamar, Western Nebraska, College of Southern Nevada and Central Arizona College.

-Blade Contributing Writer-Vaquerosports.com

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