Bradshaw Mountain swept by Flagstaff in region series

Prep Baseball

Bradshaw Mountain's Tim Young tries to break up the double play as the Bears take on the Flagstaff Eagles Thursday afternoon in Prescott Valley. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

Photo by Les Stukenberg.

Bradshaw Mountain's Tim Young tries to break up the double play as the Bears take on the Flagstaff Eagles Thursday afternoon in Prescott Valley. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

PRESCOTT VALLEY — Bradshaw Mountain’s baseball team entered its 12-day spring break meagerly on Thursday night, taking it on the chin against Flagstaff, 8-5, on the Bears’ campus field in Prescott Valley.

For the second time in three days, Bradshaw Mountain faltered against the Eagles, who beat the Bears, 15-3, Tuesday in Flagstaff. The Eagles earned the sweep in the 2018 Grand Canyon region home-and-home series.

“We’re just not playing real good,” Bradshaw Mountain coach Brian Bundrick said. “We’re not playing horrible, as you could see. We’re just not getting hits in bunches, and we’re not getting two-out hits. We struggled on base runners all day long. But we’re OK. We’ve got to get a couple more people to pick it up a little bit. We’re not far off.”

The Bears’ record stands at 2-2 in power-point games and 1-2 in region. Flagstaff improved to 2-0 in region.

“We have some time off, so we’re going to regroup, talk about what needs to be worked on, and we’re just going to come back strong,” Bradshaw Mountain’s Travis Robinson said. “Every [region] game means everything to us now.”

Bears starting pitcher Bailey Ramirez came out flat Thursday, having difficulty establishing a rhythm. In three innings of work, Ramirez allowed seven runs (five earned) on seven hits. He hit a batter, struck out one and walked one.

“He had an off-day,” Bradshaw Mountain’s Timmy Young said of Ramirez. “He’ll come back, and he’ll fight back.”

Flagstaff starter Carter Kasprzyk went five innings before giving way to reliever Nick Mariage, who polished off the Bears. Kasprzyk allowed four runs on six hits, striking out three and walking three, to garner his first victory of the season.

“I didn’t have my curveball [Thursday], actually, so I was working a fastball/change-up mix for the most part,” Kasprzyk said. “I was just trying to get ahead and keep them off-balance. I left a few pitches up [in the zone], but I worked through it and kept going.”

Kasprzyk opened the game on shaky ground, though, plunking three Bradshaw Mountain batters and giving up a two-run single to Chase Torp before settling down, tied 2-2. Kasprzyk fanned Bears right fielder John “Nacho” Nache with two outs and the bases loaded in the first inning to diffuse the bleeding.

The Eagles’ infield turned double plays in the second and third innings, which helped set the tone. At the plate for the visitors, leadoff batter Shane Kuzmin went 2 for 5 with a solo homer in the first inning, a double and two runs scored. Drew Healy (2 for 4, RBI double) and Kasprzyk (2 for 3, two RBI singles) aided in the effort.

“We kept them off the bases. And that’s good with this park, because if you hit anything in the air [at altitude], it might get out,” Kuzmin said. “We have a very good shot [to win the region] because we have deep pitching and we have a pretty good lineup. We’re a solid team; we’ve just got to perform.”

Robinson entered in relief during a four-run Eagles fourth after Ramirez had pitched to three Flagstaff hitters. Stephen Canizales’ two-run double to left handed Flag a 7-2 lead, driving Ramirez from the mound.

Robinson gave the hosts a chance to claw back into it, allowing one run on four hits in the final 3-2/3 innings. He registered five strikeouts, issued one walk and forced six groundouts in an inspired performance.

The Bears’ trouble was that they mustered three runs on five hits from the fourth though the seventh innings, pulling no closer than three runs of a tie. Nache, Young (2 for 2, two runs scored) and Shane Pryor (2 for 4, double, two runs scored) drilled a solo homer apiece in the fourth, fifth and sixth frames, respectively.

“We were just getting down in the count – a couple strikeouts, a couple guys looking, a couple guys swinging,” Robinson said.

Bradshaw Mountain ended the game with a whimper. Trailing 8-5 in the seventh, Young lined a single to left to lead off, but Robinson and Jeff Walker struck out, and Torp grounded out to conclude matters.

“Carter kept a fairly clean base path, so that helped us in those [solo-homer] scenarios,” Eagles coach Mike DoBosh said. “[Winning this series] definitely builds some confidence for our guys. You’ve just got to be ready to play.”

UP NEXT

Bradshaw Mountain won’t return to competition until 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, when the Bears play host to Lee Williams of Kingman (1-3 record in power-point games, 0-1 Grand Canyon region).

Flagstaff visits Prescott (2-1) at 3:30 p.m. today, March 9, for another region game. It’s the Badgers’ league opener.

Doug Cook is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at dcook@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.