FLAGSTAFF — Miles Hunter and Daniel Vincent had key hits and two key runs in the top of the seventh inning to help the Grand Canyon Cardinals to a 9-5 victory over the Continental Diamondbacks Saturday in Junior League action.
The Cards went into the seventh inning knotted in a 4-4 tie with the D-Backs. Hunter led off the seventh with a double, stole third and scored on a Vincent single. Vincent later made his way around the bases to score when the D-Backs catcher dropped a third strike and threw the ball to first base.
Tomas Alarcon walked and later scored went a D-Backs pickoff attempt went awry at third. Late in the inning, Jesse Hunter hit a two-out, two-RBI double to score Chris Streit and Eddie Tobin, who had each drawn walks.
The D-Backs came back with a run in the bottom of the seventh, but that fell well short.
"It's always good to start off the season with a win, especially under the circumstances," Cards coach Ken Hunter said.
Hunter was referring to Grand Canyon's absence of key players, which played a role in a lot of inexperienced infielders seeing time.
Miles Hunter had a rough start even before the first pitch. In warmups, Hunter took a ball to the face. Once the game started, he allowed four hits and three runs in the first inning.
But Hunter settled down to pitch a complete game. He allowed eight hits, three walks, hit one batter and struck out 13.
"I'm real proud of the way the kids played," Coach Hunter said. "David Robinson caught real well ... and the team came through and pulled out a win."
The Cardinals collected just six hits in the game as a team. Miles Hunter went 3-for-4 with a double, RBI, two runs and four stolen bases. Jesse Hunter went 2-for-4 with a double, three RBI and two stolen bases. Vincent had the other hit, the key single in the seventh inning.
As a team, Grand Canyon stole 10 bases, drew 10 walks and was hit twice by pitches.
The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Jesse Hunter walked, stole second and scored on a Miles Hunter single.
Trailing 4-1, Grand Canyon scored twice in the fifth inning. Robinson walked, went to second on a passed ball and scored on a Miles Hunter single.
Miles Hunter then stole second and third on consecutive pitches and went ahead and stole home, taking advantage of the pitcher who was going with a full wind-up and the third baseman, who was not holding him on.
Grand Canyon tied the game in the sixth with another run. With two outs, Tobin walked and Chad Meredith was hit by a pitch. Both baserunners advanced on a passed ball and Tobin ended up scoring on an infield single by Jesse Hunter.
Grand Canyon (1-0) will play a doubleheader Saturday in Flagstaff with games at noon (vs. Continental Cardinals) and 5 p.m. (rematch vs. Continental Diamondbacks).
Friday at Flagstaff
vs. Continental Diamondbacks
Scoring by innings:
Grand Canyon 100 021 5—9
Cont. D-Backs 301 000 1—5
2B—Miles Hunter, Jesse Hunter. WP—Miles Hunter (1-0).