Chaparral leadoff hitter Jose Ortiz had quite a day swinging the bat on Tuesday.
But he didn’t take it off his shoulder in his most important plate appearance.
Ortiz walked with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth to force home the go-ahead run, and the Cowboys topped Tech 10-8 at Silver Bowl Park.
Ortiz, who had led off just one other time this season, was 5-for-5 with a double, two runs and two RBIs.
“We’re putting him there in the leadoff spot hoping he comes through and he did more than that today,” Chaparral coach David Soto said. “He had an excellent day on the field both offensively and defensively. And he came through. We put him in a difficult situation. He’s never batted leadoff before in his life.”
The ninth-inning rally started with one out when Clayton Tate was hit by a pitch. After a walk, Erick Villareal singled through the left side of the infield to load the bases for Ortiz, who drew a four-pitch walk to break an 8-8 tie.
Chad Clark then drove in another run with a fielder’s choice grounder.
“Clutch hitting at the right time, and things just fell in the right place at the right time,” Soto said. “We’ve been struggling hitting wise, so it was good to be able to come back in that situation.”
Tommy Crone slammed the door on the mound for Chaparral (15-7, 6-1 Sunrise League). The senior right-hander threw three scoreless innings to get the win in relief of younger brother, Tyler. Tommy Crone struck out six and allowed one hit. Soto said those strikeouts were especially important on a day that heavy winds made fly balls an adventure.
“Tommy’s been amazing,” Soto said. “He was amazing last year and he’s been amazing this year. In this situation, you need a strikeout pitcher, because if the ball gets in the air, you’re in trouble.”
Tech led 8-5 going into the seventh, but Chaparral got an RBI double by Tate, and then two runs scored when the Roadrunners made two errors on the same play with two outs, forcing extra innings.
Clark and Tate each added two hits for the Cowboys.
Abel Martinez was 3-for-4 with a double, a triple, three runs and two RBIs, and Bryan Casas went 3-for-5 with three runs for Tech (11-6, 5-2).
Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4587. Follow him on Twitter: @DamonSeiters.