Who knows how many RBIs Gabe Johnson would have ended up with had Thursday's game lasted just a little longer.
Sabino's center fielder, hitting from the seven spot against visiting Palo Verde, made the most of his three at-bats, hitting a single and two doubles, each good for at least an RBI. He had four RBIs in all.
Johnson was a batter away from going back on deck in the fifth, when teammate Matt Bushman hit a walk-off RBI single that gave the Sabercats an 11-1, mercy-rule-shortened victory.
"It feels really good to see the team coming together so well," Johnson said. "I think we're coming into our swings, definitely."
The Sabercats improved to 8-1 and are ranked No. 3 in the state. Only three other Division II teams from Southern Arizona would make the playoffs if the season ended Thursday - No. 2 Catalina Foothills, No. 9 Salpointe Catholic and No. 16 Ironwood Ridge - which, if anything, makes Sabino's hot start even more impressive.
"Right now is a nice time," Sabino coach Rod Allen said. "We don't allow many runs because we have great defense. They're not making errors."
In fact, Thursday's win marked the seventh game in a row in which the Sabercats allowed a run or less.
Jeremy Timpf, who replaced Tommy Harding on the mound to start the fourth, made the defensive play of the game, knocking down a hard hit ball up the middle by Rodrigo Almeraz, retrieving it to his right and launching a rocket to first base for the second out of the inning. He then got a strikeout to end the inning.
Timpf is one of five Sabino pitchers with an ERA under 1.00. The others are Harding, Thursday's left fielder T.J. Hastings, Randy Dalrymple and closer Ty Pennington, who, while picking up four saves, still has an ERA of zero.
During some seasons in the past, Allen has had to get a little creative with his rotations. This year, he has no such problems.
"I know that our pitching and defense right now are carrying us very well," he said. "In order to continue (winning), that has to continue. Is it going to? I don't know."
It seems as if it will. The Sabercats already have wins over Ironwood Ridge and CDO, and now, appear to be finding a groove at the plate. Catcher Daniel Peters, batting cleanup, had a double and four RBIs against Palo Verde. Hastings had an RBI single in the first, while Bushman's walk-off was his second single of the game.
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