The Fountain Hills Falcons defeated the Winslow Bulldogs 9-2 in the Arizona State 3A Conference Baseball semi-finals at Maryvale on Friday.
The game was much closer than the final score would indicate and very much undecided until the Falcons scored five insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning. The loss ended Winslow’s season with a 20-11 record.
Winslow started strong and took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when Jordan Payne singled, Lucas Armenta hit a ground rule double that bounced over the center field fence and both scored on a dying quail double to right off the bat of Anthony Martinez.
Fountain Hills scored three unearned runs in the top of the third to take a 3-2 lead. Mark Bolstan singled home a run after a walk and a very costly Winslow error. A second Winslow error tied the game and the Falcons took the lead on a Michael Lassig sacrifice fly.
The Bulldogs missed a golden scoring opportunity in the bottom of the third when Armenta led off with a single, stole second and third but was left stranded there. He was the last Bulldog to reach base.
The Falcons got their first earned run and increased their lead to 4-2 in the top of the fifth. Kyle Gilbertson singled and went to second on a passed ball and to third on a balk. Bolstan then dropped a perfect squeeze bunt to plate the run.
The Bulldog bullpen gave up five runs in the top of the seventh to blow open what had been a very competitive game. Lassig and Connor Lewis singled in an inning that also saw three walks, a hit batsman and an error figure in the scoring.
Alex Richards pitched well enough to win, allowing four runs on just three hits in 5 2/3 innings. Three of the four Falcon runs were unearned. He walked four batters and did not have a strike out.
Gilbertson got the victory for Fountain Hills, giving up two runs on just four hits and a walk. He fanned nine. The Bulldogs managed only one hit and a single base runner after the first inning.
Matt Oso worked an inning for Winslow and gave up two runs on a hit and three walks. Pierre Arrossa worked a third of an inning and was charged with three runs, only one of which was earned, on a hit, two walks and a hit batsman.
Armenta was two for three at the plate with a double, a run scored and two stolen bases. Martinez was one for three with a double and two runs batted in. Payne was one for three with a run scored.