EL DORADO — Mixed weather did not stop an afternoon of baseball at Union Mine Monday but the combined efforts of Liberty Ranch pitchers Jared Norris and Brian Szyper did put the kibosh to the D’back offense in the Hawks’ 9-1 Sierra Valley Conference victory.
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Norris and Spyzer split the mound duties — Norris came out after three and two-thirds innings while Szyper hurled the last three and a third. Union Mine did manage multiple runners in the first, fourth and seventh when the D’backs pushed across their one run.
Liberty Ranch ran itself into scoring position to open the game. The Hawks stole seven bases, including home, to take a 4-0 lead before Union Mine touched its bats.
“Simply put, Liberty Ranch was better prepared to play and had good focus at the plate,” D’back coach Brett Robinson said.
Nate Brown and Sean Tow (2-for-4) were aboard in the first to give Union Mine a two-on, one out scenario but Norris induced a line-out to left field and ground out to get out of trouble.
The visitors added one in the second, two in the fourth on Matt Thomas’ two-run home run, one in the fifth and one in the seventh.
John Creason led off the D’back fourth with a single and two outs later JP Pedretti singled but Szyper came in to get a foul-out to end the threat.
In the Union Mine seventh, Colton Merrill doubled with one down and RJ Blake laid down a bunt single to put two on. With Tow in the box, Blake broke for second and was cut down trying to steal as Merrill scored to spoil the Hawks’ shut out.
Charles Simpson started on the mound for the D’backs and was followed by Greg Alloway and Creason. Due to injuries, Union Mine seniors Mike Davis and Carlos Romero were not available.