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Denair baseball outlasts Delhi in 19-9 marathon
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Denair’s Jackson Hart slides into 3rd base after hitting an RBI triple during the game against Delhi on Tuesday (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

The Denair Coyotes earned their fourth win of the 2022 season, beating the Delhi Hawks by a score of 19-9. The game saw four different lead changes before the Coyotes pulled away with 10 runs in the sixth inning.

Denair was led by junior Jackson Hart, the starting pitcher who constantly found himself on basepaths as a hitter.

While the Coyotes would wind up victorious, it was the Hawks who started the day’s scoring frenzy in the very first inning. Senior Jesus Cervantes kicked off the game with a leadoff walk and was quickly brought in to score by junior Sammy Soto. The early score didn’t seem to faze Hart as he proceeded to strike out the next three batter and escape the inning without further damage.

The strong finish to the top half of the inning was a momentum builder for the Coyotes, particularly for Hart himself. Hart reached base with a hit, stole second and third base, and scored on a pass ball to tie the game at one run apiece. An RBI double by freshman Kaden Prine and a Delhi throwing error gave Denair a 3-1 lead after one inning. The Coyotes would score two runs in the next two innings to extend the lead to 5-1.

While Denair found success at the plate, Hart continued to impress on the mound, tossing scoreless second, third and fourth innings. After his quick work pitching in the top half of the fourth inning, Hart continued to contribute offensively with an RBI triple. Once again, Prine followed up with an RBI hit of his own to make it a 7-1 game. The Coyotes would go on to score two more runs in the inning.

After an uneventful fifth inning for both teams, the Delhi offense came alive against Hart in the sixth to tie the game at 9 runs apiece. The rally began with a Soto leadoff single, who scored on a Julian Gonzalez infield hit. Two more runs scored on two more infield hits before a Cervantes tripled to make it a 9-8 deficit for the Hawks. The game would find itself in a tie once more after a sacrifice fly.

“That rally goes to show that, as a team, we should be better than what our record shows,” said Delhi head coach Josue Aguilar. “We have guys who can make it happen, but it just hasn’t gone our way.”

Although Hart was pulled from his start during the rally, Denair head coach Craig Hunnel was still proud of the junior’s performance.

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The Coyotes' Nick Collins hits the ball (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

“Jackson is a competitor all the way through, from start to finish,” Hunnel said. “Sometimes he can get excited and you have to pull him back a bit, but he’s competitive to the very end, and that’s one thing I appreciate about him.”

Nevertheless, the Coyotes were not at all fazed by the Delhi comeback, exploding for 10 runs and securing the victory via the mercy rule. The inning began with the first four Denair batters reaching base by either a walk or a hit. Hart, who once again found himself on base after a single, was able to increase the lead by 2 runs when he scored after escaping a pickle between third base and home plate. After multiple base hits and errors by the Delhi defense, the

Coyotes held a 16-9 lead. The finishing touches were delivered by freshman Lincoln Hart, whose 3-RBI triple finally forced a stoppage to the contest.

Hart explained that, regardless of the shaky end to his appearance, he was satisfied with the way he pitched and the manner in which his team stuck together to pull out the win.

“I think I did pretty well for the most part pumping in strike. The strike zone was a little tight, but I persevered,” Hart said. “We were able to push through that rough inning and keep pushing along no matter how hard it got.”

Hunnel also spoke about the final inning and praised his team for sticking together after the late Delhi rally.

“We shouldn’t have let them back into the game, but we did, but the thing is we teach resiliency to our players. They went out there and scored some more runs and that’s all you can ask from your team,” Hunnel explained.

The Coyotes improved their overall record to 4-15 with a 2-9 record in league play. Meanwhile, Delhi will continue to search for their long-coveted first win of the 2022 season.