Two-out hitting can make or break a game.
Canyon del Oro proved that philosophy on Monday. Seven of its nine runs came with two outs as the Dorados put away Nogales early in the first day of the Lancer Classic at Reid Park with a 9-2 victory.
"We did a good job and made some things happen with two outs, and that's huge because that begins to break the other team's spirit," CDO coach Stephen Ambuehl said.
In the top of the fourth, with the Dorados (6-4) ahead 4-0, CDO put on a two-out hitting display with four-consecutive hits that produced four runs.
Gabe Benavides brought home Erick Migueles with a single to right field for the first run. Tyler Brown and Jared Dubois followed with RBI singles, and Leo Khawam lined a hit to left field to score Brown for the final run of the inning.
"He threw a fastball right down the middle and I was ready for it," Khawam said, who had two hits and two RBIs.
Sophomore right-hander Max Smith did his part on the mound, keeping the Apaches' offense at bay for most of the game. Smith went 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and four walks. He struck out eight for his third win of the year.
"I was feeling good coming out today," Smith said. "I was throwing strikes and kept the ball low. That's the key when you're pitching."
Nogales (4-6) finally broke through against Smith in the bottom of the fifth with some two-out hitting of its own. After Smith struck out the first two batters, Marcel Renteria who had four hits in the game, singled to right field to start the rally. An Alan Sinohui walk and single from Gabriel Mada loaded the bases for Justin Felix.
The senior first baseman came through with a single to right field to put he Apaches on the board. The final run of the inning came on a bases-loaded walk to Al Cruz.
"I was getting tired and left the ball up," Smith said. "My off-speed wasn't working as well, but I worked out of it."
Robert Padilla, who came into pitch for the Dorados with one out in the sixth, threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings to seal the win.
CDO will play Safford today in the second round of pool play at the Lancer Classic, while Nogales will face El Paso Cathedral.
"Any team in this tournament is dangerous," Ambuehl said. "We have to go out and play good baseball."