Staff photo by Eric Lusk
Even with his eyes closed, Landon Smith of the Sox finds the ball has reached his glove. Ely Self charges in.
Coach David Hauser’s squad improved to 12-3 on Thursday with an 8-6 win over the Diamondbacks. Pitcher James Grace struck out 14 batters in the six-inning contest played at Herridge Field in Cottonwood.
The scrappy D’backs, coached by Buzz MacDonald, jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning. But the White Sox held their poise and scored six runs in the bottom half of the frame.
B.J. Halter and Timothy Austill singled, while Grace, Aaron Hauser and Landon Smith all doubled in the inning. Jake Addis brought home the final run of the inning with a nice sacrifice bunt.
From there, Grace took command from the mound. He struck out the side in the second inning and only allowed one base runner total in the third, fourth and fifth frames.
The Diamondbacks, which are fighting for an upper division finish, gave the Sox one last push in the top of the sixth. Ely Self got aboard on a fielder’s choice and Cameron Thorp walked. Self eventually scored after slipping out of a rundown between third and home.
The D’backs had the go-ahead run at the plate with two outs, but Grace snuffed the rally with his 14th strikeout.
Other game highlights for the White Sox included Austill’s RBI double in the second inning and Halter’s RBI single in the bottom of the third. Self tripled for the D’backs to lead off the top of the fourth.
Other White Sox players on the roster this season include Joseph Loehr, Brandon Johnson, J.D. Sauntman, David Rosa and Michael Rocha. Hauser pitched a perfect game earlier this season.
If there’s one team that can overtake the White Sox for league supremacy, it’s the Cardinals. The Cards (10-4) have beaten the Sox twice this season and only lurk a game back in the standings. The two teams played Saturday night (after press time for this issue).
The Athletics with five losses are also in the hunt.
The White Sox will play the Marlins, and the D’backs will face the Athletics on Tuesday night. The Cardinals and Giants will meet on Thursday, as will the Angels and Cubs. The season ends for the Majors division on June 15.