On a blustery afternoon of celebration, the Casa Grande baseball team let Windsor’s Jaguars have hope for five frames and then put the hammer down.
On a chilly but event-filled Friday afternoon, Casa Grande honored its seniors, paid tribute to retiring assistant coach Dominique Wirtz and concluded a championship regular season with an 8-2 win over the visiting Jaguars.
The victory finished the Casa Grande regular season at 19-4. The North Bay League champion Gauchos ended with a 13-1 league record.
Wirtz has been part of the Casa baseball family for 25 years, acting as business manager, counselor, scorekeeper, ambassador and friend to hundreds of Gaucho players.
After being honored and presented with a framed jersey, he watched Friday as he has so many times before as the Gauchos turned a tight game into a rout with a five-run, sixth-inning outburst.
Even though it took Casa Grande awhile to break things open, at no time did it feel as if the home side was in danger.
Spencer Torkelson slammed a double to left and rode home on Quinton Gago’s RBI single in the first. Torkelson then hit a high pop-up that blew all over the outfield in the third before dropping for another double. This time, Hance Smith provided the RBI on a double to right.
All kinds of wildness, including Torkelson being thrown out at home, ensued in the fifth, with the Gauchos settling for a single run in an inning that included a single, two errors, two fielder’s choices and a double play.
Meanwhile, Casa Grande pitchers allowed the Jaguars a sprinkling of hits, but pretty much controlled things. Casa starter Gago gave up a run in the second inning on a pair of hits sandwiched between a hit batter and a sacrifice, but little else through four innings, helping himself by initiating a double play in the third.
Nik Kamages was saved in the fifth by a diving catch by left fielder Torkelson and a nice play by shortstop Smith. The shortstop then moved to the mound to finish out the game with a pair of strikeouts and a pop-up in the seventh.
Meanwhile, the Gauchos put the game away in classic fashion with the five-run sixth, keeping the line moving on a walk to Hayden Klemenok, Eddie Bermudez’s single, an RBI hit by Max Cerini, an infield hit by Torkelson, a two-run single by Gago, a double by Smith and AJ Miller’s sacrifice fly.
Torkelson had three hits and Smith and Gago two apiece, with Gago driving home three runs.
Earlier in the week, Casa Grande took care of business against Rancho Cotate, defeating the Cougars, 11-1. The victory was the 400th for Paul Maytorena as head coach for the Gauchos.
Parker Ruoff pitched four shutout innings for Casa, allowing just three hits, with no walks and four strikeouts. Kamages finished up, giving up the Cougar run on one hit and a walk with four strikeouts.
Casa had just six hits in that game but accepted seven walks. John Green had two of the Casa hits.