Hits were hard to come by for No. 4 Nogales on Wednesday, but an RBI single by junior Alan Garcia proved to be just enough as starter Issac Lopez and the Apaches shut out No. 12 Yuma Gila Ridge 1-0 in the first round of Division II double-elimination games.
Lopez (7-0) wasn’t even planning on starting when he woke up Wednesday, but a teammate’s unexpected fever forced the junior into an “emergency start,” coach O.J. Favela said.
Lopez didn’t disappoint, holding Gila Ridge to five hits, including just one base runner over the final two innings, in the complete-game victory at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
His counterpart Victor Castro, was equally effective. Favela said Castro was as good as anybody they’d seen all year, limiting Nogales (25-5) to four hits.
A blooper down the line by No. 9 hitter Angel Chavez started the sixth-inning rally. After pinch runner Steve Grambs advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, a two-out line drive by Garcia drove in Grambs with the lone run.
Nogales improved to 7-3 in one-run games, something Favela attributes to simply “playing our game,” no matter the situation.
The Apaches will play No. 1 Phoenix Greenway on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Tempe Diablo Stadium.