The most likely matchup for the next Saturday’s AFL Championship game went once again to the Salt River Rafters with a 2-1 win over the Surprise Sagauros in 10 innings last night.
In the top of the 1st, Cole Freeman reached base on a throwing error and took third on another throwing error, stealing his first AFL base on his way from first to third. Nick Banks drove him in with an RBI single and stole second as well.
In the 2nd, KJ Harrison got his first hit in three games and went all the way to third on a walk and a failed double play. Freeman (0-3, BB) drew a two-out walk but a strikeout by Baltimore’s Mason McCoy ended the rally.
Harrison (1-3, BB) would lead off the 4th with a walk, but failed to go any further as he was erased on a double play. That would be the theme on offense for Surprise as the Sagauros got the leadoff man on twice more – including the second single by Nick Banks (2-4, RBI) – and failed to get either into scoring position.
The Saguaros finished with just four hits and three walks while striking out ten times.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, Sterling Sharp made his sixth AFL start and was his usual self: five innings of one-run ball on one hit and two walks while fanning seven. He threw 65 pitches, 40 for strikes.
Likewise for Andrew Lee, who set down the side in the 6th on ten pitches (five for strikes) in his only inning of work. Both Lee and Sharp have ERAs of 1.50 for Surprise.
Alas, so was Nick Raquet, who faced just two batters in the bottom of the 10th. The first grounded out to third base, the second singled in the free runner for the game-winner and Raquet’s second AFL loss.
It’s a day game today for Surprise as the Mesa Solar Sox visit for an afternoon game.