Only two full games were completed this past weekend at Sloan Park in Mesa, the third game was cancelled in progress making that a tie baseball game, as Central won one and lost one, and the season stands at 7-1-1 here at this early stage.
ACCAC conference games start the coming weekend.
This where the battling starts in perhaps the premier JUCO Division I conference in the entire nation.
In Friday's game against Phoenix College, starter Ky Bush struggled in the fourth inning with walks, but was the usual Bush in the other four innings winning his third of three starts on the season. Bush fanned seven batters and gave up only one hit with two earned runs.
By that time the Vaqueros already had a 9-2 lead and the final was a run-rule 14-4 win.
This time it was cleanup hitter and centerfielder Tyler Kelly who singled, doubled, and homered while driving in five runs, scoring three times. The Vaqueros got 14 runs out of eight hits, but also drew 7 walks.
Everyone should know now that basepath speed is a big part of baseball recruiting at Central (Kelly could be the speediest clean-up in the conference) and there's nothing but proof that the Vaqueros can get free passes to the plate. A walk is absolutely as good as a hit with this program.
Do the math: eight hits, seven walks, 14 runs.
Shortstop Zack Stewart drove in three runs with a single and sacrifice fly, lead-off hitter Coby Boulware walked twice and scored three times, and Matt Aribal and Ricky Gutierrez-Meier each singled and scored twice. First baseman Logan Valencia also doubled, drove in two, and scored.
Different story in game two against Salt Lake Community College.
The Central bats never got going and SLCC pitching stifled Central into ground balls all day as Central took their first loss of the season 9-2.
Mat Olsen lost his first game, but threw very nicely striking out nine batters in four innings.
There is a lot of tweaking, practicing, and many things to try in the season as head coach Anthony Gilich works, as in every season, to get the most out of each of Central's 32 players. A perfect example is how Central used three catchers evenly in last year's National Championship season and in the end, it was Jake Meyer who stood out.
Let the games begin!
Conference play starts Saturday with a double-header at Paradise Valley Community College and each weekend turns into a backyard brawl until the traditional regular season-ending doubleheader with Cochise Community College April 25th.