The White Mountain Hawks opened the Northern Baseball League season with a 1-0 win on June 16 at Prescott. Then, playing three games in the next three days, the Hawks lost all three as the lack of pitching depth took its toll. Prescott won on June 17 9-8 and Flagstaff swept a doubleheader on Sunday at the Show Low Park Field 14-1 and 15-6.
Colten Frisbie was the winning pitcher against the Prescott Roadrunners on June 16 giving up just two hits while not issuing any walks in four innings. Tyler Hixon also pitched scoreless baseball over the final three innings earning a save for his efforts. Adrian Alvaraz singled in Beau Johnson in the first inning for the game’s only run.
The Hawks’ lack of depth in their pitching staff led to the loss to Prescott on June 17. Prescott took a 5-0 lead after two innings but the Hawks battled back to lead 6-5 midway through the fourth inning. The game was tied at 8 heading into the bottom of the seventh but the Roadrunners prevailed with the final run to split the first two games for both teams in Northern Baseball League play. Hixon led the Hawks’ attack with three hits while Zack Morris was 2 for 3 with two runs scored.
Sunday’s games against the Flagstaff Star Chasers showed why more pitching is necessary. Frisbie took the mound for the Hawks and faced just seven batters through two innings yielding no runs. Then the ordeal of pitching on just two days of rest came into effect and Flagstaff scored five runs in the third.
Meanwhile a very well rested Star Chaser pitching staff was fresh and held the Hawks scoreless until the seventh inning. Flagstaff scored seven runs in the top of the seventh inning to put the game out of reach and win 14-1.
In the second game played on Sunday, Flagstaff scored two in the first inning, but the Hawks answered with three in the bottom of the inning to take a 3-2 lead. Gunner Martinez (2021 graduate of Blue Ridge High School) led off with a single and took second on an error. Martinez was singled in by Beau Johnson. Hudson LaBarbera walked and after both players moved up a base on a passed ball, Zack Morris singled to plate both runners and give the Hawks the lead.
After the Star Chasers scored five runs in the second inning, Morris again came through with two RBIs in the bottom of the inning to make the score 7-5. Morris came on to pitch in the third inning and held the Flagstaff team scoreless through the fifth inning. Some slick base running by right fielder Jim Welsher closed the score to 7-6 in the third. After singling, Welsher went to second on a passed ball, stole third base and then scored on a wild pitch.
As they had done in the first game, the Star Chasers broke out in the seventh inning, and by scoring six runs, put the ball game out of reach.
Martinez was 4 for 8 with two doubles and two runs scored and Morris was 3-7 with four runs batted in to lead the Hawks’ offensive attack.
According to Hawk assistant coach Steve Konek, there are more players on the way, including pitchers. Games are scheduled every week on Thursdays through Saturday in the four-team league. That is 21 to 27 innings of baseball every weekend, and a team will not be successful in this league without six to eight different pitchers every weekend. The Hawks are impatiently waiting for those reinforcements.
Coach Tim Kelly will use the next three days of practice to rest his pitchers.