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Fri, Feb. 28

Grand Canyon takes<br>2 from Ash Fork

The Grand Canyon High School baseball team won its first games of the year a few weekends ago with a sweep over Ash Fork.

In games played April 11, the Phantoms took two from the Spartans, 10-8 and 18-8. With the victories, Grand Canyon evened its record in the 1A North to 2-2 and are now 2-8 overall.

The Phantoms struck for five runs in the top of the first inning and then had to hold on the rest of the way in the 10-8 victory.

"We started out strong and kind of let them back into the ballgame," GCHS coach Andrew Aldaz said. "We would score a couple, then they would score a couple. It went back and forth."

In the first inning, Miles Hunter doubled and later scored on a double by Joe Wilkerson. Shane Cox and Danny Vincent singled and Matt Hender reached base on an error. Wilkerson, Cox, Vincent and Hender each scored and the Phantoms led 5-0.

Ash Fork came back with a run in the bottom of the first and two more in the second. Grand Canyon added three more runs in the fifth inning for an 8-3 lead. John Gabaldon walked, Miles Hunter was hit by a pitch and Wilkerson got a hit as all three of those players scored.

The Phantoms added single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to overcome a three-spot by the Spartans in the bottom of the sixth.

Miles Hunter started at pitcher and went five innings. In that time, he struck out 11. Wilkerson relieved and ended up being the pitcher of decision. Wilkerson struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh.

At the plate, Wilkerson and Cox led the way with two hits each. Wilkerson had two doubles while Cox and Miles Hunter each had one two-bagger.

"We didn’t have a whole lot of errors in that game," Aldaz said of the defense. "We did better against Ash Fork than Fredonia. If we could have played this way against Fredonia, those games would’ve been a lot closer."

Grand Canyon may have cut down on its errors because of time on an actual field. The underground sprinkler system project wrapped up a few weeks ago and the Phantoms were able to get on their home diamond for the first time this season.

The Phantoms had another big first inning in the nightcap by pushing nine runs across. Ash Fork also had its moments offensively, but Grand Canyon held on for an 18-8 victory in a contest that went the full seven innings.

In the first, Jesse Hunter, Cox, Vincent, David Robinson and Ed Hazlett all reached base on walks. Miles Hunter had a double and single in the first inning alone. Wilkerson also had a single, as did Jesse Hunter on his second at-bat.

Wilkerson also collected a second single in the inning, but was called out by the umpire when he threw his bat.

Wilkerson continued on the mound for Grand Canyon and went the first three innings. Miles Hunter took over in the fourth and finished out the game. Because of his lead at the time of departure, Wilkerson was credited with the victory at pitcher. The two Phantom hurlers combined for 15 strikeouts, five by Wilkerson and 10 by Hunter.

After the Spartans had cut their deficit down to 9-4, Grand Canyon came back with four runs in the third for a 13-4 advantage. Hazlett, Miles Hunter and Cox each had hits and scored. Jesse Hunter reached base on an error and also scored.

In the fourth, Ash Fork scored three times to make things interesting. Grand Canyon scored two in the fifth and three in the seventh in what ended up as a 10-run win. In the fifth, Miles Hunter reached on an error and Wilkerson doubled with both scoring. In the seventh, Gabaldon was hit by a pitch, Robinson singled and Hazlett walked with all three later scoring.

Miles Hunter came up big offensively with a four-hit game, including a pair of doubles. Wilkerson went 3-for-5 with a double. Cox and Hender each collected two hits.

Jesse Hunter was ejected from the game and Grand Canyon finished with no right fielder.

The Phantoms (2-2, 2-8) will host Joseph City on Friday for a doubleheader. Action is set to begin at 1 p.m.

Grand Canyon’s games scheduled for Tuesday of last week against Seligman were postponed because of snow. The home twinbill will be played Saturday at noon.

Aldaz said for Grand Canyon to have a shot at the state playoffs, the Phantoms would need to sweep both doubleheaders.


April 11 at Ash Fork

Game 1

Scoring by innings:

Grand Canyon 500 031 1—10

Ash Fork 120 023 0—8

2B—Miles Hunter (2), Joe Wilkerson 2 (2), Shane Cox (3). WP—Wilkerson (1-3).

Game 2

Scoring by innings:

Grand Canyon 904 020 3—18

Ash Fork 400 300 1—8

2B—Miles Hunter 2 (4), Wilkerson (3). WP—Wilkerson (2-3).

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