MAGNA Cyprus pulled it off.
It hadn't happened since April 21, 2005. No, it wasn't related to the weather it may feel like it has been that long since there was a spring baseball game played in warm weather but it had been nearly three years since Cottonwood had lost a region baseball game. The Colts had been perfect in region play since realignment moved them into 4A. Back-to-back 14-0 seasons in Region 6.
But the streak is over.
Cyprus got a complete-game, 12 strikeout performance from its ace Taylor Jones and made just enough plays to win, 4-3 Thursday afternoon at Magna Park.
"These guys were close to getting them last year," said Pirates coach Bob Fratto of his players. "They weren't going to be satisfied leaving here with just a close game or saying they hung in there. They didn't want any moral victories like not getting 10-runned. They wanted this game, and I think they knew that if they played good baseball, not even perfect baseball, that they could win."
Jones didn't get off to the type of start he wanted. The hard-throwing lefty walked the second batter he faced in Stephen Rodgers. After a wild pitch and a tag-up advanced him to third, Rodgers scored on an RBI single from Ryan Thomas. Jones settled down and got out of the inning before pretty much putting it on cruise control from there.
"My fastball was working for me," Jones said. "I was able to locate it pretty well and throw it by some guys. Once they started looking for the fastball, I got my curve going and was able to throw it for strikes and keep them guessing. I was pretty pumped up for these guys, and it sure felt good to go out and get the win."
Jones threw the complete game giving up three runs on six hits and walked four. If ever there were evidence for not giving hitters a free pass, it was in the fact that three of the four batters Jones walked came around to score.
Cottonwood also got strong pitching performances from two hurlers. Starter Desmond Poulson and reliever Zach Adams allowed only seven hits and the four runs. Poulson was rolling through the Cyprus lineup. He gave up one run in the third when Austin Shakespear walked and advanced on a single and two pitches that got by the catcher. Poulson ran into some trouble in the fifth as the Pirates strung together four straight singles from Shakespear, Broc Moltz, Austin Pollock and Jordan Ikari and scored three runs in the rally. Pollock had an RBI, as did Justin Eggers on a nice squeeze play. Another of the runs again scored on a ball that got to the backstop.
It was all the offense Jones needed as he closed out the game in the seventh stranding the tying run on third base."We knew it couldn't go on forever," said Cottonwood coach Jon Hoover of the unbeaten streak. "It is OK that it happened this way. That was a good baseball game with two good teams. You have to give them credit. They got it done today.