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Roughriders lose series, see baseball season end
Junior College Baseball

Yavapai’s Christian Encarnacion-Strand was 2 for 4 with a home run and two RBIs in Saturday’s loss to Central Arizona College in Phoenix.  (Les Stukenberg/Courier file)

Yavapai’s Christian Encarnacion-Strand was 2 for 4 with a home run and two RBIs in Saturday’s loss to Central Arizona College in Phoenix. (Les Stukenberg/Courier file)

PHOENIX — For the second time in as many days on Saturday, May 11, Central Arizona College rallied late to beat the Yavapai College baseball team in the NJCAA Region 1, Division I championship series, costing the Roughriders a region title and advancement in the postseason.

Knotted at 4-4 in the top of the 10th inning of Game 3 at Paradise Valley Community College, Central Arizona outfielder Zach Hogueisson blistered a three-run homer and the Vaqueros held on for a 7-4 victory and a spot in this week’s NJCAA Western District tournament.

Fourth-seeded Central Arizona won the series, 2-1, after posting back-to-back come-from-behind victories. Third-seeded Yavapai won Game 1, 8-1, on May 9, but lost Game 2 on May 10, 7-6, thanks to a five-run Vaqueros rally in the seventh inning.

Game 3 had a slightly similar feel as Game 2. The Roughriders led 3-0 through four innings. However, Central tied it at 3-3 in the top of the fifth. Yavapai regained the lead, 4-3, in the bottom of the fifth, but Central tied it again at 4-4 with a run in the sixth.

The seventh, eighth and ninth innings were scoreless for both teams until Central scored in the 10th.

On the mound, Yavapai’s Bobby Meza suffered the loss in relief. He came on with one out in the seventh inning and lasted 2-2/3 frames, allowing three runs on four hits, striking out six and walking one.

William Sierra started and lasted five innings, giving up three runs on three hits, striking out six and walking three. Riley Egloff, Sasha Sneider and Marcus Christy also pitched in relief.

Central pitcher Zane Strand, who entered in relief of starter Jonathan Stroman with two outs in the fifth inning, went 5-1/3 solid innings to garner the victory. Strand allowed only three hits, struck out five and didn’t issue any walks.

At the plate for Yavapai, ACCAC Division I Player of the Year Christian Encarnacion-Strand was 2 for 4 with a home run and two RBIs. Dalton Daily went 2 for 4 with a double and two runs scored. The Roughriders managed only those two extra-base hits in the game.

For Central Arizona, Hogueisson led the way, going 3 for 4 with two home runs, four RBIs and two runs scored. Clayton Keyes followed, as he was 1 for 3 with a homer, three RBIs and two runs scored.

Yavapai College was supposed to play the region championship series at Roughrider Park in Prescott. However, the Roughriders were forced to switch venues to Paradise Valley Community College because of rainy weather in Prescott this past week.

The Roughriders ended the season with a 37-19 overall record. Central Arizona improved to 42-19.

UP NEXT

Central Arizona will play in the Western District Tournament Thursday, May 16, through Saturday, May 18, at a site and time to be determined.

The district champion qualifies for the NJCAA Division I Junior College World Series Saturday, May 25, through Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, at Sam Suplizio Field in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Doug Cook is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at dcook@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.

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