A fastball well out of the strike zone to Nate Bills forced in the winning run for Casa Grande as the Gauchos edged Windsor, 4-3, in 10 innings to cement its 11th consecutive diamond victory on a late Friday afternoon.
The streaking Gauchos encountered everything that they could handle from junior right hander Francisco Sosa of the Jaguars, who tossed a complete game gem and eclipsed the 130-pitch mark only to lose in wrenching fashion in the final extra frame.
Casa catcher Francis Christy continued to taunt the visiting Jaguars by reaching base for the fourth time with a sharp single to right field to open the 10th inning. Two walks loaded the bases and Sosa finally flinched on a three-and-one pitch to Bills that ended it.
Both teams had opportunities to win the game, but Sosa was dealt a major blow when Windsor led 3-2, and a routine fly ball to center field was completely misjudged in the bottom of the eighth inning, allowing one more Gaucho batter to come to the plate.
That batter turned out to be Iggy Llorence, who fought off a Sosa delivery a couple of pitches later, and lofted a clutch fly ball down the right field line that dropped out of the reach of a trio of frantic Windsor defenders to tie the game at 3-3. With everything on the line, it gave his team another chance to keep the current win streak alive.
Casa Grande got workmanlike efforts from three pitchers to hang in against Sosa. Starter Matt Becker went 6 1/3 strong innings giving up only two runs before being lifted in favor of 6-foot, 4-inch reliever Nick Marks.
Marks continued to hold off damage by the Jaguars until they pushed across a run on a bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning.
Sophomore Eric Parnow came in at the end to mop up the contest for the Gauchos, managing to duck a couple of arrows before recording the victory when Casa rallied in the 10th inning.
Christy turned in another solid performance for the Gauchos behind the plate and at bat. The senior catcher repeatedly bailed his club out of hot water by gunning down a pair of runners on the bases and keeping others close to the bag with threats of throwing it again.
With a bat in his hands, Christy had one of his best games of the season, singling twice and drawing an intentional walk in between. The bat was inadvertently taken out of his hands in the fifth inning when the catcher from Windsor threw wildly to first base to allow a runner to move into scoring position. Jaguar coach Mark Domenichelli wasted no time in putting down four fingers.
In the third frame, Christy smashed a prodigious solo home run over the right field fence to chop a two-run Jaguar lead in half. The blast was so well struck that Windsor right fielder Josh Rasmussen could only turn after a couple of futile steps backward and admire as it sailed well beyond the barrier.
Good teams have a way of pulling games like this one out of the fire, and that was the case as darkness began to set in. The Gauchos kept the game close until the final inning when they finally capitalized on the weariness of the gallant Sosa,