It’s usually not to your advantage to be the visiting team in baseball — unless you score early and put pressure on the other team.
That’s what Coronado did Tuesday, scoring three runs in the first inning and three in the second en route to an 8-5 road win over Liberty in the first round of the Sunrise Region tournament.
“We’ve actually played better when we’ve played them here,” said Coronado coach Rich Santigate, whose team lost 7-4 at home to Liberty last week. “We lost a tough one to them last week and stuff. It’s a natural rivalry, and we just came out right away and set the tone.”
Joey Calvert led off the first with a double and scored on Jake McLean’s single. The Cougars added a run on an RBI groundout by Kyle Hall and another on an error for the early advantage.
Coronado (20-10) then scored three in the second on Ethan Stephens’ RBI single and Braeden Ewing’s two-run single.
“That’s one of the things you hope for when you’re on the road,” Santigate said of taking an early lead. “That’s why we played a lot of games on the road this year in preparation, because most of your playoffs are going to be on the road. It’s good to be playing well at the right time.”
Liberty (16-14) rallied for three runs in the fifth, capped by a two-run single by freshman Jack Hale to chase Hall, but Trevor Darden threw two hitless innings of relief to record the save.
“Darden’s a strike thrower,” Santigate said. “He’s been in a lot of situations like this before.”
Boston Mabeus went 3-for-4 with a double, homer and three runs for Coronado. Calvert was 3-for-5 with two doubles and a run and Stephens 3-for-5 for the Cougars, who play at Rancho (26-6) at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
“We have a lot of two-way guys, and they’re starting to put it together,” Santigate said. “They’re on the field either pitching or hitting. This time of year with a bunch of at-bats under their belt, they’re kind of getting more comfortable.”
Kaeden Camat-Toki and Andrew Gallegos each went 2-for-4 for Liberty, which hosts Silverado (11-18-1) in an elimination game at 4 p.m. Wednesday.