Falcs 'football' Apache Junction, 15-13; Sixth straight vaults 'Birds to #5 ranking
By Pete Mohr | May 5, 2010
Co-Captain Jaron Long throttles Sunrise Mountain; Connor Sabanosh gets all three RBIs in crucial 3-1 win!
FALCON FIELD – At mid-morning, Friday, April 30, I called my information “right arm,” Athletic Department Secretary Bonnie Nystrom to get the previous afternoon’s score, CSHS-Apache Junction, the Falcons’ finale of the 2010 regular season. “Falcons won,” said she matter-of-factly, 15-13. That football number set me to wondering if Head Coach Mike Baker had elected to “go for two” after one of the Falcon “touchdowns”? Not so.
In the Thursday, April 29, front-propelled wind that turned A.J. into a Coors Field play-alike, the Falcons had put up ten runs in the 3rd, four more in the 5th, and one in the 7th to lead by a comfortable 15-6 at the end of six-and-a-half. The big blows for the Falcs were Jaron Long’s fifth HR in the 3rd inning explosion and Logan Davis’s two-run dinger (his first) in the four-run 5th.
On their home diamond, the Prospectors didn’t roll over, rallying for seven runs in their 7th, including their third and fourth round trippers of the game. Coach Baker brought in Nick Francis to get the final out. Francis walked the first batter he faced to put the tying runs on base before inducing a game-ending fly-out to center. Starter and junior Joey Ford (five solid innings) got the win; Francis, the save.
Coach Baker to Sonoran News after Monday’s practice: “Yeah, winning six in a row is nice. Puts us right up there in Power Points rankings [temporarily at #2, pending the results of other 4A-I make-up games this week]. But winning ten straight is going to be even sweeter, because that’ll mean we’re State Champions! Hey, I can’t guarantee you that we’ll be in the Championship come May 15; but if we are, we’re gonna win it!” “Big Red” (see "Superstitious Falcons?") believes in his team – and so does this writer.
The April 29 win at A.J ended the Falcons’ regular season at a solid 13-5, virtually assuring that they’ll host their State 1st Round Game, Saturday, May 8. Please note the 11 a.m. first pitch time. Co-Captain Long will start. Depending upon his pitch count, it’s possible Long may start in Wednesday’s May 12 Quarterfinals – if the ‘Birds advance from the 1st Round. If Long doesn’t go, Coach Baker will choose between sophomore Sean O’Grady or junior Ryan Nemger.
After their gut-check 7-5 comeback “Senior Day” verdict over A.J., the then #8-ranked Falcons traveled the next afternoon for a show-down at #7 Sunrise Mountain. As he did in his five-hit shutout of Saguaro on April 15, the game that revitalized the Falcons, Long pitched his team to a crucial 3-1 victory. The ‘Birds tallied a run in the 1st and two in the 3rd, with singles by catcher Connor Sabanosh knocking in all three runs. The Long-Sabanosh battery yielded only a run in the Sunrise 2nd, blanking Sunrise Mountain over the next five innings.
Baseball parent Jay Sabanosh, whom I thank for both Sunrise Mountain and Apache Junction play-by-play details, described the win at Sunrise as “a classic pitchers’ duel.” Clearly, when the Falcons need a big win, Long goes out and gets it “well-done!” Come Saturday, the Falcs will have home field advantage and right-hander Jaron Long, their “stopper,” going for them. This unabashed “homer” encourages that their late season comeback (from the near-dead of a 15-3 April 13 whompin’ by #1-ranked Saguaro) calls for a big crowd of Falcon Baseball fans to be on hand at the home yard.
“All the way, Falcons! All the way!”
Senior Honorees [#1-#4]: (l-r) (Arnold Zygutis) A.J. Zygutis, (Marcey Long) Co-Captain Jaron Long, (Randy and Lynn Decker) Brandon Decker, Anthony Rosetto. Kudos to Jennifer (Mrs. Brian) Nurre for coordinating the “Senior Day” honors. How ‘bout them tradition breaking sunflowers?!
Senior Honorees [#5-#8]: (Robert Brenner) Marc Brenner, (Mark and Candace Davis) Logan Davis, (Stacey DeGrazia) Brady Dombrowski, (Scott Francis) Nick Francis. Congratulations to all eight Falcon seniors – and their parents!
Photos by Pete Mohr