Cochise College Athletics

Cochise beats Delgado in the rain

IMG_3040GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — The Cochise College baseball team survived the rain and, more importantly, Delgado Community College on Sunday afternoon.

The Apaches eliminated the Dolphins from the NJCAA Division I World Series with a 9-5 rain-delayed victory behind a solid pitching effort from starter Xavier Altamirano.

“It’s elimination time, and guys like (Altamirano), that’s the time competitiveness and the will to win comes in,” said Cochise head coach Todd Inglehart. “I’ve mentioned before that what separates X and (Steve) Naemark is they’re so tough from the neck up. They’re very resilient kids.”

Altamirano went 6 2/3 innings for the win, allowing three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out three. David Estrada came on in relief for 1 1/3 and gave up two runs on two hits and a walk, and when he ran into a little trouble in the ninth, Josh Advocate pitched the final inning for the save.

The game was delayed for a little more than an hour with two outs in the top of the fifth inning as the drizzling rain began to pour and saturate the field.

With Cochise up 3-1, Altamirano got two Delgado batters to ground out before hitting Josh Watkins with a pitch. Officials then halted play and rolled out the tarp. When play resumed, Cody Ducote walked and Christopher Eades singled to score Watkins, but Altamirano settled back in and ended the threat with a strikeout.

“Coming into these games, after what happened last year, I have more heart than ever and I just want to win so bad,” Altamirano said. “Some games have been taken away from us, and coming into these games, I’m going to do all I can to win.”

Cochise answered Delgado’s run with one of its own in the fifth on a ground ball by Austin Nelson that scored Louis Boyd. The Apaches extended their lead in the sixth, with an RBI single by Boyd and an RBI double by Nelson that brought in two to make it 7-2. In the seventh, Nick Borowski hit a solo home run right field, and a double by Jason Sanez brought in Jayson Hicks to put Cochise up 9-3.

The hard rain came back in the late innings, but Cochise survived a rally by Delgado in the top of the ninth. The Dolphins put runners on with an error and a walk, then scored one on a single. With runners on the corners, Estrada balked to score another for Delgado. Advocate came on and sat down the Dolphins’ final three batters with two flyouts and a strikeout.

“Once you get to this point, everyone gets thin (on pitching),” Inglehart said. “You’ll see guys starting to lose command a little bit, and that’s where I think we’ll have an easier time scoring runs, because we’re patient.”

Nelson was 2 for 4 with a walk, two runs scored and four RBIs. Boyd was 3 for 4 with three runs scored and Sean DeSoto was 2 for 5 with an RBI.

After losing Saturday’s game against Blinn, Cochise is making its way through the losers’ bracket of the double-elimination tournament and will next face Columbia State Community College of Tennessee, representing the East Central District. The Chargers run-ruled Johnson County Community College of Kansas 12-2 in the earlier game Saturday.

Today’s game between Cochise and Columbia state starts at noon MST (11 a.m. Arizona time). It is being played two hours later than originally scheduled because the the rain moved Sunday’s night game between Miami Dade and Spartanburg Methodist to this morning at 9 MST.