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Photo by Rodney Kitchen
Aztecs pitcher Austin Willis has a mound conversation with catcher Storm Phillips in Tuesday's game at Barstow High School.

Aztecs blanked by Diamondbacks

BARSTOW • “They know what they’re in for tomorrow in practice,” was the comment from Barstow head baseball coach Kenny Phillips of his players after Tuesday’s loss. “The two-and-a-half hours we’ll put in is going to be hard work.”

That work will come as the result of a disappointing loss. The Aztecs hosted Serrano for a non-league match, and suffered a 9-0 defeat at Barstow High School.

Barstow beat the Diamondbacks early in the season, and as such didn’t expect Tuesday’s outcome to be so lopsided. And it wasn’t, through the first innings. Serrano got the bats in gear in the fourth, and didn’t stop.

“They came out on all cylinders, pitching and hitting,” said coach Phillips. “It’s probably the best game they’ve put together all year.”

Austin Willis got the start for the Aztecs, and cruised through the first three frames. He faced the minimum nine batters, striking out four of them. He got some help from catcher Storm Phillips throwing out a would-be basestealer in the first, and from third baseman Austin Crank, who snagged a line drive for the last out of the third.

The D-backs put three on the board in the fourth, breaking up the no-hitter and shutout. Saxon Andress hit an RBI double, and Brandon Copeland and Cody Nelson RBI singles.
There were three more in the fifth on just two hits. Copeland and Nelson had sacrifice flies, but there was also a bases-loaded walk.

Willis was lifted after the fourth.

“Austin was on a strict pitch count and I wanted to get a look at a few different things today,” said Phillips of the non-league game.

The Diamondbacks were quiet in the sixth, an inning that started with a single, but was followed up with a 4-6-3 double play and fly to right. In the seventh there were three more runs, one of which scored on an error.

The Aztecs were never able to get into a groove against the D-backs’ Devon Fouse. The pitcher gave up just three hits, singles to Crank, Storm Phillips and Alfredo Lopez. Fouse was in command the whole game, walking none and striking out seven.

Willis gave up three runs on four hits, walked two and fanned five. He was followed on the hill by Zeke Haenelt (1ip, 3r, 2h, 3bb, 0k) and Gabe Arizaga (2ip, 3r, 5h, 0bb, 1k).

The Aztecs are now 7-7, 3-6. Tuesday was the team’s fourth consecutive loss.

“We’re skidding pretty hard right now, but we can’t dwell on it,” said coach Phillips. “We’ll practice tomorrow, go to their place Thursday and try to put it together. We can’t look past anybody at this point. We need every game.”

The Aztecs will be in Phelan on Thursday, in Victorville against Silverado next Wednesday, and home agasinst the Hawks next Friday.

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