By Frank Smith
The San Manuel Miners varsity baseball team fell 8 – 6 to the Phoenix Christian Cougars, in the Division IV State Semi-Finals on May 10 at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
The Miners had a another surprise run into the state playoffs as they entered the tournament as the no. 18 seed and worked their way into the top four teams of Division IV.
The Cougars came into the tournament as the no. 3 seed and lost to Desert Christian from Tucson in the Championship game on Saturday.
San Manuel was evenly matched with Phoenix Christian and were presented a chance to come from behind to tie and possibly win. However, the Miners could not catch a lucky bounce late in the game, committing one too many errors that would ultimately cost them the game and a spot in the championship game.
The game was scoreless until the Cougars broke the silence, pushing two runs across the plate in the bottom of the third inning. San Manuel answered back with two runs of their own as the Miners scored in the top of the fourth inning.
Phoenix put together a big inning in the fourth as the Miners committed a few errors that allowed the Cougars to score five runs in the bottom half of the inning to take the lead 7 – 1.
The Miners would not go down quietly as they got things going to score three runs in the top of the fifth inning to cut into the lead at 5 – 7. Phoenix Christian would score one more run in the bottom of the fifth to extend the lead to 8 – 5.
In the sixth inning, the Miners were only able to push one more run across the plate to fall short 8 – 6 and take the loss to the Cougars as the Miners failed to score in the top of the seventh inning.
The Miners scored six runs on six hits and committed four errors while the Cougars scored eight runs on six hits and committed three runs.
On the mound for the Miners was Anthony Garcia (5 – 2) with T.J Brown catching and Shane Kelly coming in for relieve Garcia. Garcia allowed five hits, seven runs-four earned, struck out three batters and walked four.
Offensively, Demetrious Dietz went 1 for 3 with one run scored and one RBI, Anthony Garcia went 1 for 3 with one run scored and one RBI, Marty Rodriguez went 1 for 4 with a double and two RBIs, and Danny Quijada went 1 for 1 with a triple.
“I am very proud of all the guys how they never gave up during the game,” head coach Steve Elmore said. “If a couple bounces go our way or a couple hits drop, we could have won the game. It’s not the outcome that the seniors wanted, but I hope they are happy with finishing in the top four in the state.”
Elmore said it is a big accomplishment to do it once, but most of these guys have done it for two straight years. “Next year’s group will be looking to make it three straight years,” he added. “I just want to thank the players for letting me coach them this year, it was a lot of fun that I will not forget.”