One of the axioms about baseball is that each day brings on a different game. That showed itself during Canyon Del Oro’s first week of the baseball season.
After losing its first game to Catalina Foothills, there was no hangover effect for the Dorados on Friday, as they beat the Sabino Sabercats, 18-3.
CDO banged out six runs on six hits in the first inning to get out of the gate quickly against Sabino.
Singles by Erik Migueles and Ryan Bronson led to one run, before cleanup batter Nick Ames blasted a two-run home run for a 3-0 lead. With two outs, the Dorados started another rally. Singles by Tyler Brown, Gabe Benevides, and Leo Khawam, and an outfield error led to three more runs and a 6-0 lead after one.
“I feel like we capitalized on pitcher’s mistakes,” said Bronson. “We lost to Catalina Foothills 12-3. Our team looked a lot better today.”
CDO’s second-year coach Stephen Ambuehl talked about the team’s 1-1 record in the first week.
“Opening day put us behind the eight-ball,” Ambuehl said. “CatFoot was ready to play. Today we just played better. It was a full nine-hitter production. Sabino’s a very good team.”
The Dorados banged out 15 hits. Migueles had two hits and two walks. Bronson was 3-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Brown had two hits and a walk. Khawam had two hits and was hit by a pitch. Even ninth-place hitter Jordan Felix ripped a three-run double to make it 16-3.
The onslaught was so thorough and complete that the Sabercats were forced to use three different pitchers, while the Dorados batted around twice.
“We were able to use our bench,” Ambuehl said. “The guys came off the bench and hit.”
One of those was Nate Soriano who pinch-hit after Sabino’s second pitching change. Soriano saw a pitch he liked and belted it for a two-run home run to complete the scoring in the third. At that point it was inevitable that the Sabercats would end the game in the fifth inning via the mercy rule.
It was in the third when CDO pushed the game out of reach. The Sabercats had just scored twice to narrow the lead to 8-3 going to the bottom of the third.
The Sabercats took out their starting pitcher who had already faced 16 batters in the first two innings.
But instead of slowing down, the Dorados’ bats exploded after the pitching transition, scoring 10 runs and sending up 16 batters in the inning. It started out innocently enough with a single by Khawam. Colton Botker walked. Migueles singled to load the bases. Then the floodgates opened up. Bronson singled in one run. Ames hit a grounder to short, but instead of going for the easy out at first, the shortstop threw the ball away in an attempt to get a fielder’s choice. Botker and Migueles scored, while Bronson went to third. Brandon Burke, Tyler Brown, and Gabe Benevides followed up with RBIs.
Dorados’ pitcher Max Smith had the unusual challenge of trying to stay in rhythm, while taking the mound after 15-25 minute breaks each time, because of the offense. Smith pitched four innings, allowed four hits, two walks, three runs, and three strikeouts. Ames finished out the game with a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth, including two strikeouts.
“Max Smith was painting the corners,” said his catcher Bronson. “Nice and easy.”
Ambuehl’s excited about the season, in spite of what looks to be a difficult schedule.
“We have good senior leadership,” he said. “We started three sophomores, three juniors, and three seniors. It’s a good group of guys. At times we’ll make youthful mistakes. Against Foothills we were tight.”