Arbor View’s baseball team retired two of the first nine opposing hitters Wednesday.
Until Jalen Haener took the mound.
Haener got the first batter he faced to ground into a double play to end the second inning and brought a sense of calm that allowed the Aggies to cruise to a 14-3, five-inning win over Carson (California) in the Blazer Spring Bash at Centennial.
“He came in, threw strikes and challenged the hitters,” said Arbor View coach Jordan Salazar. “He put us in a spot where we could compete all five innings.”
Haener, a junior left-hander, tossed 2⅔ innings of one-hit relief, walking one and striking out one.
He was exactly what the Aggies needed.
Starter Steven Giatti struggled with his command, walking five and hitting two of the first nine Carson batters. Giatti picked a runner off of first and caught another stealing in the first inning to limit the damage.
Arbor View (17-8) had no problems getting its offense going. After scoring once in the first, the Aggies got RBI singles from Michael Torres and Niles Scafati-Boyce, a sacrifice fly from Payton Brooks and took advantage of a bobble in the outfield to build a 5-2 lead in the second inning.
“One thing we’ve done throughout the year is battle back,” Salazar said. ”We put ourselves in situations to score every inning. It’s been good to watch.”
Haener’s work allowed the Aggies to keep increasing the lead.
A wild pitch and a throwing error by the Colts handed Arbor View two runs in the third, and the Aggies erupted for five in the fourth inning to put the game out of reach.
Scafati-Boyce was 2-for-4 with three RBIs, and Dillon Jones was 2-for-2 with an RBI for Arbor View, which went 4-0 in the tournament. The Aggies have won six straight overall, scoring 63 runs in that streak.
“The last week, we’ve starting to really jell and come together really nicely,” Salazar said.
Now the Aggies turn their attention back to the Mountain Region race. The team is 5-3 in the league, good for sixth with five games left.
The top eight teams make the playoffs, and Arbor View must face Shadow Ridge (6-3) and Centennial (7-2) next week.
“We have two games that are very key for us,” Salazar said. “This is a good time for us to really get going.”
Contact reporter Bartt Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4587