Photos by Raymond Suarez
By Nate Martinez
After a series of postponed games, Pima Community College baseball was finally able to kick off the delayed 2021 season.
They took on the number 20 ranked College of Southern Nevada Coyotes in back-to-back doubleheaders last Friday and Saturday.
February 12 (Game 1): Aztecs 8, Coyotes 9
In a very rocky start for the Aztecs, Pima found themselves in the hole 9-2 going into the bottom of the fifth inning in game one of their first double header. Freshman pitcher Wilson Bannister gave up four runs in the first inning of his first start of the season. He was taken out in the top of the 5th after allowing a home run and nine runs in 4.1 innings..
Freshman pitcher Darius Garcia finished the game, striking out three and giving up no runs on one hit.
The Aztecs bats came alive in the fifth, gutting out two runs to make the score 9-4 going into the sixth inning.
Another run was scored by the Aztecs in the sixth, cutting the lead to 9-5 going into the seventh and final inning. A two-run bomb by freshman catcher Parker Schmidt sliced the lead to only two runs. A ground out by sophomore outfielder Terrell Huggins drove in freshman outfielder Daniel Durazo to make the score 9-8, but a pop out would end the inning and seal a loss for the Aztecs.
February 12 (Game 2): Aztecs 13, Coyotes 12
In game two, the Aztecs found themselves in another hole. They trailed 11-2 heading to the bottom of the fifth inning.
However, the team showed resilience, as Jose Enriquez, a powerful freshman from El Paso, Texas, blasted a two-run homer to shorten the deficit to five. An RBI single by Schmidt and another three-run bomber by freshman outfielder Ajay Ram tightened the score to 11-9.
Two errors made by the Coyotes allowed Schmidt and Durazo to tie the game 11-11.
After losing the lead in top of the 7th, the game’s breakout star, Terrell Huggins, hit a lead off homer to tie the game back up at 12 apiece.
Then, in the eighth, Huggins won the game for the Aztecs, nailing a walk-off RBI single to drive in Schmidt for the game winning run.
Freshmen Josh Castillo and Kaden Palmer delivered for the Aztecs late in the game. Castillo struck out two with the bases loaded in the sixth and got the last man with some help from the infield.
Palmer struck out all three batters in the eighth to close out Pima’s defensive night.
February 13 (Game 1): Aztecs 7, Coyotes 4
Games one and two of the next day’s double header were all out offensive clinics for the pima bats. The Aztecs scored five runs in just the first inning of game one.
The CSN Coyotes rallied to score four runs in the third, but an RBI double by Huggins kept the Aztecs ahead, 6-4.
Freshman Alex Kelch scored off an error in the fourth inning, while freshman pitcher Chaison Miklich came into the game in the third and shut out the Coyote bats all the way to the seventh. Kaden Palmer would relieve Miklich in the seventh and save the game, striking out one.
February 13 (Game 2): Aztecs 17, Coyotes 9
Game two was a dominating performance for the Aztecs that saw the team score 17 runs.
The Aztecs scored five in the first inning and at least two runs in each of the next four innings. Terrell Huggins went 3 for 6, knocking in a two RBI triple in the second, another triple in the fourth and finally a three run homer to end his night.
Freshman infielder Alex Kelch was also on a hot streak, going 2 for 3 with three RBIs while Ajay Ram also knocked in two RBIs of his own.
With offensive talent and an excellent bullpen, it is safe to say the Aztecs could be a dangerous team this year.