Perfect pitching lifts Nogales past Rincon

Perfect pitching, hot hitting lift Nogales past Rincon
Posted on 03/15/2022
Perfect pitching, hot hitting lift Nogales past RinconVia Nogales International

The Nogales Apaches defeated the Rincon/University Rangers 11-0 on Wednesday as two NHS pitchers combined to throw a five-inning perfect game.

On the offensive side, the Apaches banged out 11 hits in their four turns at bat, including three doubles and two triples. They scored three times in the first and second innings, then plated five runs in the bottom of the fourth to put the game in position to be shortened by the 10-run rule.

Meanwhile, 15 Rincon batters came to the plate during the game without any of them reaching base.

Sophomore lefthander Sal Valenzuela got the start on the mound for NHS – his first as a member of the varsity team.

“I was kind of nervous, but I knew that I couldn’t be nervous so I just had to do my thing,” he said after the game, adding: “I knew what I could do versus this team and I put it to the test.”

Valenzuela retired 12 hitters on 47 pitches, striking out eight. Asked what pitches were working well for him, he said:

“I was really good with my offspeed. My curveball, my changeup, too – I was locating it pretty good outside. And my fastball was pretty good.”

He was relieved in the fifth inning by senior Santi Dibene, who retired the first two batters on ground balls and struck out the third to seal the victory.

Nogales shortstop Demetrio Cristantes finished the game 3-for 3 with two doubles and a triple, three runs scored and two knocked in. Robert Gallego had two hits and three RBIs; Gerardo Paco had two hits, including a double, and two RBIs; and Sergio Valverde had two hits, including a triple.

Tuesday’s opener

It was the second win of the season for Nogales after the Apaches opened the 2022 campaign at home on Tuesday with a 15-1 victory against Catalina Foothills.

In that game, which was also decided by the 10-run rule after five innings, Roman Bracamonte pitched 4 2/3 innings, striking out eight batters, hitting one and allowing just one hit. Dibene retired the final Catalina Foothills batter on five pitches.

Thomas Teel led the offense, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs.

The Apaches are set to play at Sahuarita on Friday. Their next home game is scheduled for March 22 against Desert View, starting at 6 p.m.
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