Cowboys lose close one in Game 1, but Wildcats romp in Game 2
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McCollum was able to break up Gregory-Portland’s no-hit bid Friday at the Frank Tejeda Complex, but couldn’t break the Wildcats in the best-of-three Class 4A bi-district series.
In a gem of an opening game, G-P side-armer Tristan Busse and Cowboys senior Jesse Medina dueled through seven scoreless innings. In two plays in the top of the eighth, however, the Wildcats found a way to claim a 2-0 victory.
“That’s baseball,” first-year McCollum coach Hector Delgadillo said. “A couple of things didn’t go our way and a couple of things went there way. They got hits when they needed to and those guys can run. They took advantage.”
Saturday at Gregory-Portland, the host team stormed to a 10-0 win and swept the series. All eight area playoff qualifiers were eliminated last week.
“Those guys are tough,” Gregory-Portland coach Fred Flores said of the Cowboys. “I tip my hat to coach Delgadillo. He’s a guy that definitely has control of his team. He’s calm and in control, a lot like coach (Jesse) Garza last year.
“They gave us all we could handle.”
In Game 1, Busse took a no-hitter into the bottom of the seventh. His ball movement resulted in few hard hit balls, and two of those from Ralph Ramirez ended as fly outs. Busse struck out 10.
“He’s one of those sinker-slider guys,” Flores said. “The ball never hit the same spot in the strike zone twice.”
Neither team advanced a runner past second base until the seventh inning. Through three innings against left-hander Medina, Gregory-Portland’s Sage Hamon had the game’s only hit.
Cowboys senior Dominick Ortiz was safe on an error, leading off the fourth inning, as was Hector Arevalo in the sixth. McCollum left three runners on base through six, compared to two for the Wildcats.
In the McCollum seventh, Medina was the man who recorded the Cowboys’ first hit, a single to left field with one out. His courtesy runner, Chris Herrera, stole second base and slid under the tag at third on Rene Martinez’s deep fly out. However, another fly out sent the game into extra innings.
“We had our chances,” Delgadillo said. “The guys didn’t do the little things, like get bunts down or drive in runs with two outs. You have to get hits with runners on base to win these games. We didn’t come through.”
Medina scattered five hits through seven innings. He struck out seven.
“My hat’s off to Jesse,” Delgadillo said. “He’s a senior on the mound. I told him we needed him in Game 1, for seven, eight or nine innings – whatever he could give us. He did what I asked him to.”
Gregory-Portland’s Ely Gordon and Tristan Pena greeted Medina with back-to-back singles, leading off the eighth. Pena’s was misplayed for a three-base error. Both Gordon and Pena scored on the play.
Sage Hamon followed with a third–straight single and Heaven Garcia was summoned to relieve Medina. McCollum second baseman A.J. Vasquez executed a nice play on a chopper up the middle to end the inning and prevent another G-P run.
In the Cowboys’ half of the eighth, Ryan Villalobos reached base on an error and Ortiz added a single to right field with two outs. Busse extinguished the threat with his last strikeout.
Wildcats pitcher Blane Hamon shut out the Cowboys on Saturday.
Gregory-Portland led just 1-0 through three innings, but erupted for six runs in the fourth behind doubles from Tim Rogers (2 RBIs) and Gesier (RBI). The game ended after another Wildcats rally in the fifth.