Catalina Foothills’ formula for winning games is pretty simple: Throw strikes, use situational hitting and focus on one game at a time.
The host Falcons stuck to that game plan Tuesday afternoon to beat Sierra Vista Buena 9-3. Foothills (7-1) used a combination of timely hitting and the left arm of senior Josh Goldberg.
Goldberg tossed six innings and fanned seven batters on his way to his second win of the young season. He did not give up an earned run. Once the Butler commit tweaked his approach on the hill, he breezed through the lineup the rest of the way.
“I just tried to keep the ball out and down,” Goldberg said. “Once I started going outside, they weren’t hitting it very well. They couldn’t touch it.”
Foothills coach Jim Baldwin noted one strength of his team is its ability to put the ball in play. The back end of the lineup got the rallies started.
The Falcons’ No. 8 hitter, sophomore Troy Guthub, finished 2 for 3 with two singles and two runs scored. He helped start rallies in the fifth and sixth innings when the Falcons scored a total of seven runs to pull away.
“The key was the back of the lineup getting on base,” Baldwin said. “We’re not a power team, we’re a situational hitting team. The guys put the ball in play, we created movement and that’s how you score runs.”
Back-to-back doubles by senior Nick Reeves and junior Brady Badart got the scoring started in the second inning.
In the next frame, Buena senior Matt Duce doubled home a run to tie the game. The catcher was 3 for 3 with two doubles, a single and three RBIs.
“Duce had a great day at the plate; he squared up three balls good,” Buena coach Adam Thrasher said. “He did it in good situations for us.”
While his team managed a few runs, Thrasher said his squad needs to have a better understanding of situations on offense.
“Right now, we need to do a little bit better on our hitting, two-strike hitting,” said Thrasher. “It seems we don’t change our swings and we’re swinging as hard as we do with no-strike counts.
“We just have to get focused on putting the ball in play and getting the job done.”
With games against Ironwood Ridge, Salpointe Catholic, Tucson, Cienega and Canyon del Oro remaining on the schedule, Foothills has its work cut out. In order to remain successful, Baldwin knows his team needs to stick to the formula.
“We just have to keep playing baseball, do the smart things. We don’t have anyone throwing 95 miles per hour or hitting the ball over the fence consistently, we’re just solid,” said Baldwin. “You can’t look too far ahead in this game, you look too far ahead and you’re in trouble.
“Overall we’re solid.”