WILLIAMS, Ariz. - The Williams High School boys baseball team is one game closer to becoming section champs with their latest win against Northland Preparatory on April 16 despite their 10th straight loss to Chino Valley.
The Vikings beat Northland Prep 8-3. Head coach Phillip Echeverria said the players came out swinging the bats well but he would like to see the Vikes have more consistency batting. While the Vikes scored in the early innings, they had trouble scoring during the fifth and sixth innings.
"When we're able to come out and hit the ball early in the game we'd like to be able to do that throughout the entire game and not slack off," Echeverria said.
Joaquin Salaz threw seven innings for the Vikes. He struck out six players and walked three.
"He did an outstanding job," Echeverria said. "That was a good performance for him. He has taken that number two spot as our pitcher and he is doing an outstanding job for us there."
Chino Valley beat the Vikings 6-1 April 17. Kohl Nixon threw seven innings for the Vikings.
"It was a good ball game," Echeverria said. "[Kohl] didn't have his best up but he threw well enough to keep us in the ballgame."
He said that batting was a struggle and has been in the past, too.
"They have a couple of quality pitchers that throw the ball real well for them," Echeverria said. "We've seen them every year for the last four years. They are seniors this year."
He said that he expected that the Vikes would hit the ball a little better against one of Chino Valley's pitchers but they were unable to.
"We just didn't get it done," Echeverria said. "We did hit the ball from time to time and put it in play and just hit it right at them. We had guys on base but we could not come up with the clutch hit to drive those guys in."
The Vikings left six players on base and only had four hits against Chino Valley. The Vikes struck out 11 times.
"That was almost a gift to them without them having to work for it," Echeverria said. "But they are a quality team. They are in the top 10 in division three. They have always been a quality team and a quality program. We'll just keep playing them until we can eventually get that win."
The Vikes played another division three team, Bagdad (6-1), in Bagdad Tuesday after the News went to print. The Vikings beat Bagdad earlier in the season and Echeverria said that it is important for the Vikings to get a win.
"That would put us in an ideal situation with three games remaining," he said. "They are a fiery bunch of kids, they play hard and we'll need to go out and earn the victory. They won't just let us have it. We'll have to take it from them."
The Vikings are 6-0 in their section, which they lead. They are seeded No. 6, 15-8 overall and 11-3 in PowerPoint rankings.