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Sat, Nov. 16

Baseball season comes to end for Camp Verde

Camp Verde seniors Wyatt Howe (left) and Easton Braden (right) hug after the Cowboys’ first-round loss to Miami at Goodyear Baseball Complex on Friday night. Camp Verde rallied from a six-run deficit but lost in the seventh inning. (VVN/James Kelley)

Camp Verde seniors Wyatt Howe (left) and Easton Braden (right) hug after the Cowboys’ first-round loss to Miami at Goodyear Baseball Complex on Friday night. Camp Verde rallied from a six-run deficit but lost in the seventh inning. (VVN/James Kelley)

GOODYEAR – Camp Verde High baseball’s season came to an end Friday in heartbreaking fashion, coming close to moving on twice.

The No. 4 Cowboys (25-4) fell 8-7 to No. 13 Miami (17-2) in the first round of the 2A state tournament at Goodyear Baseball Complex on Friday night.

Nursing a 7-6 lead with two outs and two strikes in the top of the seventh, senior Carson Zale gave up a two-run double to the Vandals.

Then in the bottom of the seventh, Camp Verde’s season ended when senior John Castillo flew out to the warning track with two outs and a runner on first, narrowly missing the walk off home run.

“It’s the worst feeling,” Castillo said. “We were close and just had an off day I guess, came up short.”

The dimensions weren’t labeled at the Cleveland Indians’ spring training facility but if they are like the dimensions at their regular season home Progressive Field, dead center is 410 feet away from home, the furthest in the ballpark.

“I made some bad coaching calls and I cost us the game, bottom line,” said Camp Verde head coach Will Davis. “We were the better team and we lost because I made some stupid calls.”

The Cowboys rallied from a 6-0 second inning deficit but couldn’t hold on rally again in their last at bat like they did against Northland Prep to win the region title.

“It felt good, we’re used to having to make a comeback (laughs) win pretty much,” Castillo said. “We just couldn’t hold it to the end.”

Senior Darren Franklin started the game on the mound and after a one, two, three first inning, gave up six runs, five earned on three hits and a walk in the second.

Zale pitched the final five innings, giving up three hits, two earned runs and two walks and striking out nine.

Davis said Zale was “as good as he’s ever been, he should have started.”

In the seventh inning Zale gave up two base runners and one was intentionally walked but struck out two batters with the bases loaded before getting the final batter to two strikes.

“Carson did awesome,” Castillo said. “He did everything right, they just got a lucky hit at the very end right there.”

Senior Wyatt Howe led the way with 2 hits and 3 RBIs and Zale had two hits and an RBI.

Camp Verde rallied to score five runs in the fourth and then two in the sixth, with Franklin getting the potential game winning RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

“It was a matter of loosening up, we were tight just like in the Northland game and we cost ourselves,” Davis said. “Pop flies to the outfield that we didn’t catch, it is what it is.”

Miami lost 13-2 in five innings in the quarterfinals to No. 5 Wilcox.

The Cowboys finished with 25 wins, the most in years and three more than their 1995 state champion team and the region championship.

“They did a great job, Davis said. “We didn’t play a lot of tough teams so our record was inflated, we knew that coming in but we were better than these guys. I just didn’t start the right pitcher and make the right calls.”

Camp Verde loses 10 seniors, that Davis said he loves and that they are like his kids.

The senior Cowboys played together since tee ball.

“It was unbelievable,” Castillo said. “We’ve all been together for so long. It’s been so much fun playing with all of them for so long. I’m sad it’s over.”

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