Queen Creek hitters struck out 11 times on Tuesday night in a bid to hand Campo Verde's baseball team a rare loss. The other 10 outs alotted Queen Creek proved most difficult for Campo Verde to acquire.
On a night defense was a dirty word for the home team, Queen Creek combined 14 hits with seven Campo Verde errors in taking a 17-5 win over Campo Verde in a Division II contest at Campo.
Queen Creek (13-7 overall and 7-4 in power ranking games) shrugged off a five-run, third inning by Campo Verde that had the Coyotes seemingly on their way to a 17th victory. Campo Verde roughed up Queen Creek ace Chase Beal for five hits and in the third combined with fielding miscue to see a brief 2-0 lead vanish.
Queen Creek responded with a see-one, play-one in its next at bat. The Bulldogs tallied five times to regain the lead at 7-5 and added three runs in the fifth and seven in the seventh as the night got longer and longer for Campo with shoddy defense, mostly in the form of errant throws.
“We got some breaks,” Queen Creek coach Mike Campbell said referring to extra bases and baserunners via errors. “We did put the ball in play on the ground and that put pressure on their defense. I think after awhile it got into their heads a little.”
Campbell was glad he had senior righty Beal on the mound in this one. Beal bounced back from the five-run third by retiring Campo Verde in order in the fourth. Beal, who improved to 5-1 for the season, exited with two outs and two on in the fifth. Reliever Kody Funderburke got the final out of the fifth and retired all seven batters he faced to finish off the victory. Beal and Funderburke held Campo Verde to six hits.
“After the third inning Chase was battling the pitch count,” Campbell said. “But he hung in. We got the lead back and he protected the lead. That's him. He's been the same guy all year.”
Queen Creek's offense was led by leadoff hitter Marcus Still with three hits and clean-up hitter Funderburke with three. Still reached base in five of his six plate appearances and scored four times. He added two RBI. Funderburke knocked in three runs as did teammate Bohdy Forsgren.
Campo Verde lost for only the fourth time this season in 20 games. The Coyotes are still a healthy 9-2 in power-ranking games and aim to get back on track on Thursday with a huge section matchup with Williams Field. Dylan Rosoff was the only Campo Verde player with two hits — a pair of doubles with an RBI. Campo Verde was No. 11 in the D-II power-rankiings prior to Tuesday's game.