The game couldn’t have had a more fitting ending, a walk-off single to give the Trojans a 2-1 victory over the visiting club, the Cheyenne Desert Shields.
It was a game of pitching with two very different styles of pitchers battling for the win. For the Trojans, it was their ace, Chad Uyeno, who has a strong fastball and a mean off-speed pitch. For Cheyenne, it was Scott Finn, whose slow curve stymied the Trojans the entire game. The Trojans had 7 hits for the game.
Trojans shortstop, Josh Mortensen, said the ball was so slow it had everyone hitting the ball off their front foot.
“No one did a bad job at the plate. His curve ball felt like 10 miles per hour. It was just so slow that it was hard to adjust,” he said.
Mortensen was one of the few Trojans with a hot bat during the game. He hit .500 for the game (2-4) and was the winning run.
It was all tied in the bottom of the seventh inning 1-1 with one out. Mortensen had just singled to first and then stole second base. The count at the plate was 1-2 with Kovatch at bat. On the fourth pitch Kovatch whacked the ball to the right field. The strong wind kept pushing the ball to the right and it looked like it was going to fall foul, but the right fielder racing for the ball tipped the ball with his glove in fair territory. The ball bounced off his glove and the run scored from second to end the game.
“The count was 1-2 and I was expecting a curve ball from him because I was struggling with that. I was trying to poke the ball into right field. The wind took the ball and we got lucky that he missed the ball. I thought it was good enough to move the runner to third and then he dropped it. The ball hit his glove and I put my head down and then heard the cheers,” Kovatch explained.
It was the perfect ending to seven strong innings by Uyeno who said he felt good and never really tired. His off-speed pitch was deadly as he struck out 6, allowed 6 hits, and 1 walk in 25 batters and just one run.
Trojans coach Brian Hayes was pleased with the outing despite the nasty windy conditions that he said hampered his club’s hitting.
“We made one of our team goals, which was to allow five or less runs on defense. We did not hit today, but I am happy with our pitching and defense today. We got that timely hit when we needed it. We expected this to be like a Faith game. When we play Faith we expect it to be a close battle. If we play defense and we pitch, we expect to be able to contend with them. If we don’t, then we will not be able to. It was a good game for us because a lot of games lately have been blowouts where we jumped out early. This was also a game that meant something because it was a league game,” Hayes said.
In the game, the Trojans jumped out early and scored a run in the second. Dylan Ault got on base on a single. Carlos Rivera drove him to third on a single and Richard Greene drove Ault home on a flyball to center field. Trojans bats then went cold leaving runners in scoring positions in the next four innings but were not able to drive them home.
Lately the Trojans had no problems at the plate. Last week they had two non-league games, losing to Legacy 7-8 and beating Del Sol 8-4. In the Del Sol game Mortensen, better known as “Yoshi” went 4-4 with a triple, 3 runs, 2 stolen bases, and an RBI. He also played solid defense turning two double plays. Yoshi now has 12 stolen bases on the year.
Chad Uyeno hit a two-run home run in the third during the Del Sol game, which was his third of the year. Yoshi was the player of the game against Del Sol and Uyeno was the player of the game against Cheyenne for his pitching.
The Trojans are away today at Clark and then return home on Thursday for a game against a Colorado team and a home game against Tech. Both games are non-league games and start at 3:30 p.m.