6A baseball: Horizon stays alive, tops Perry

May 9, 2017 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

Horizon rode the bat and clutch relief pitching of Evan Williams on Tuesday to a 4-2 victory over sixth-seed Perry in a 6A baseball elimination game at Diablo Stadium.

"When you have a kid like (Evan) you give him the ball," Horizon coach Eric Kibler said. "He's a four-year starter, and deserved the opportunity. In my opinion he's the player of the year."

Horizon (26-6-1), the No. 2 seed, is now in the final four. The Huskies move on to play Hamilton on Friday May 12 at 4 p.m. at Diablo. If Horizon loses they are eliminated and Hamilton moves on to the final. A win and Horizon forces a second game with Hamilton which would be played Saturday at Diablo for the right to advance to the title game. 

Williams, who plays centerfield and normally slots as Horizon's closer, fired 3 2/3 innings of shutout relief.  He helped pitch Horizon out of trouble in the fourth taking over for starter Cameron Doherty and again in the top of the seventh when he yielded a single and walk to give Perry a chance to tie or go ahead.

Williams corraled a very difficult high pop up in the seventh with one runner on and was able to get the final out on a fly ball to center.

Horizon's offense was ignited as well by Williams. He launched a deep home run to left in the bottom of the first to tie the game at 1. The homer cleared the grass embankment in left and he at the edge of hedges. He also singled to start a three-run third inning that proved to give the Huskies enough runs to survive another round. Perry had a 4-1 lead after three and knocked Perry starter Buddy Brownlee from the game  after 2 2/3 innings. Ryan Blech and Caden Christopherson combined for 4 1/3 innings of shutout relief for the Pumas.

Perry (18-13) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first using two hit batters to start the game. A ground out later in the inning by Cody Holtz drove in the run. Holtz's spot in the order scored in the fourth after a single. Matty Brown doubled home the Pumas other run and that's when Williams entered to take over for Doherty. Doherty worked 3 1/3 innings, allowed four hits and fanned two to pick up the victory.

Luke Francis and Doherty also had two hits for Horizon, which had eight for the game. 

PINNACLE 10, BOULDER CREEK 0: The No. 8 seed Pioneers (24-8) routed the No. 13 Jaguars (19-16) in five innings in the late elimination game at Diablo. Pinnacle takes on Corona del Sol on Friday May 12 at 6:30 p.m. at Diablo. Pinnacle must win that game and defeat Corona again on Saturday to reach the championship game.

Mason Gray worked all five innings and allowed three hits, one walk and struck out four. Devin Bonadeo and Jacob Ferguson drove in two runs apiece. Pinnacle ended the game early by scoring seven times in the fifth inning.