GC VILLAGE — Grand Canyon High School senior Jose Diaz-Gonzalez went out with a bang Saturday afternoon.
Playing in his final game for the Phantoms and wrapping up a four-year prep career on the varsity team, Diaz-Gonzalez slammed three home runs in three plate appearances in the second game of a doubleheader vs. St. Paul's Prep.
Diaz-Gonzalez nailed a two-run shot in the first inning to score Mike Vincent, who had reached base on a single. In the third inning, he hit a solo shot to give the team a 4-0 lead. And in the fourth, he hit another homer to again score Vincent, who had tripled moments earlier.
In all, Diaz-Gonzalez went 3-for-3 with five RBI and 12 total bases on the 11 pitches thrown to him.
Grand Canyon won the game, 9-0 to sweep the doubleheader. The Phantoms downed St. Paul's in the first game, 8-4.
Diaz-Gonzalez also hit a home run in that first game to give him four for the day. His late power burst gave him eight home runs for the season to tie the school record he set last year.
Grand Canyon had to come from behind to win the first game. St. Paul's held a 4-3 lead going into the bottom of the fifth. Diaz-Gonzalez reached base on a fielder's choice and scored on a Shane Cox single to tie the game. Joe Wilkerson tried to score on the same hit but was thrown out at the plate.
The Phantoms took the lead for good in the sixth with four runs. Andrew Keske was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to give the team the lead. Vincent followed with a two-RBI triple and Diaz-Gonzalez had an RBI single.
Vincent went 3-for-3 with a double and triple. Diaz-Gonzalez was 2-for-3 with the homer. John Hender went 2-for-3 with a double. Wilkerson had a RBI sacrifice hit.
Diaz-Gonzalez won at pitcher.
Hender pitched a shutout victory with 10 strikeouts and five walks. The senior, another four-year varsity player for the Phantoms, allowed just six hits.
At the plate, Hender went 3-for-3 with a single, double, home run and three RBI. Hender's four-bagger came in the first inning, a solo shot on a 2-0 pitch.
Besides the big days for Diaz-Gonzalez and Hender, Vincent went 2-for-3 with a triple and Cox also hit a triple.
Grand Canyon was awarded two forfeit victories over Seligman, Those two teams have not played in at least the past four years.
With those wins, the Phantoms finish the season with a 9-7 mark in the region, 11-12 overall. Four of the wins came via forfeits.
Saturday vs. St. Paul's Prep
Scoring by innings:
St. Paul's 004 000 0—4
Grand Canyon 201 014 x—8
2B—Mike Vincent, John Hender. 3B—Vincent. HR—Jose Diaz-Gonzalez (5). WP—Diaz-Gonzalez (3-5).
Scoring by innings:
Grand Canyon 303 30—9
St. Paul's 000 00—0
Note: Game stopped after five innings.
2B—John Hender. 3B—Mike Vincent, Shane Cox. HR—Jose Diaz-Gonzalez 3 (8), Hender (x). WP—Hender (3-5).