Yavapai College Baseball: Roughriders earn league's No. 2 seed with sweep
PRESCOTT - The Yavapai College baseball team guaranteed itself a home playoff series with two very different wins Tuesday at Roughrider Park in a sweep over South Mountain Community College.
The Roughriders squeaked by the Cougars, 5-4, in Game 1 then exploded for 21 runs over seven innings for a 21-5 Game 2 victory.
The win guaranteed Yavapai College the Arizona Community College Athletic Association's (ACCAC) No. 2 seed heading into next month's NJCAA, Division I, Region I playoffs.
"We got some guys a chance to play (in Game 2) and now Saturday (against Phoenix College) doesn't mean anything," Roughriders coach Sky Smeltzer said. "We can make sure we keep Aaron Fujiki healthy and a couple of other guys healthy."
Health was Smeltzer's biggest concern heading toward the season's final series, and by sweeping South Mountain he has the luxury of resting some of his key players in that Phoenix College twinbill.
It also gives YC the advantage of having some of his role
players get two full games in the field and at the plate to prepare for any situation the postseason might throw at them.
Dustin Hobbs pitched six innings for the Game 1-win, giving up six hits and three earned runs while striking out six.
Fujiki and former Prescott High star Cam Schiller provided the Roughrider offense, with Schiller connecting for two solo home runs in the game, while Fujiki added a three-RBI double of his own.
Pulama Silva pitched the seventh for his 15th save of the year, striking out one while not giving up a hit.
Game 2 was not nearly as tightly contested, as the Roughriders scored seven runs in two innings, adding six runs in another en route to the rout.
Schiller continued his hot day at the play, following up Game 1's 3-for-3 performance with a 2-for-4 showing in Game 1, including a double.
Fujiki went 4-for-5 in Game 2 with a double of his own and three RBI, while local product Zach Haley - a graduating sophomore from Prescott used mostly as a role player at Yavapai College - hit his first collegiate home run in the form of a sixth inning grand slam.
"It felt pretty good," he said. "We ended up winning 21-5 so it wasn't a game-breaker but it was fun. I enjoyed it."
The doubleheader was most likely a prequel for the first round series of the regional tournament, as South Mountain should claim the ACCAC third seed.
With Tuesday completing the season-sweep of the Cougars, Smeltzer said he thinks his team's confidence heading into the matchup will be high, but said South Mountain did have a weapon the Roughriders had yet to see because of the way the schedules worked out.
"They have an ace in the hole," he said. "They have a left-handed pitcher (Kyle Ottoson) leading the country in strikeouts. After that, it's a matter of bullpen's getting work done... .and I like our bullpen."
The bullpen will starting getting its work in Saturday when the Roughriders (37-17, 27-9) travel to take on Phoenix College (15-34, 6-28 through Monday) at noon and 2 p.m.
"We'll get (starting pitchers) Casey (Upperman) and Tyler (Bremer) some quick work on Saturday and then let the bullpen wrap it up," Smeltzer said.