The 2A Northland Prep Spartans baseball team has been a bit up and down this season.
Spartans skipper Matt Schmidt had to piece together a patchwork roster that has three seniors, zero juniors, two sophomores and five freshmen, and the team has dealt with some inconsistency due to the youth.
The Spartans rolled to open the season, winning three of their first four with two double-digit wins including a 33-run showing against North Pointe.
Then came Thursday, when the youth and inexperience showed a bit more against 2A Round Valley.
The Spartans struggled against Round Valley's slower, more methodical pitching, and had issues fielding with multiple costly mistakes that ranged from bad throws to losing pop ups in the sun. The visiting Elks took an 11-2 win over the Spartans, who were forced to play at the Continental Little League fields due to maintenance at Sinagua Middle School.
The loss brings the Spartans down to 3-2 overall, but the squad has a 3-0 2A Central region record.
"This pitcher had our number today, man," Schmidt said. "He's the slowest pitcher we have seen all season and we just could not figure it out. ... Today was hopefully a wake-up call and we can recover from this and hopefully come out swinging and hitting Tuesday."
The Spartans were displaced to the softball field, playing with a fake baseball mound on top of the softball circle. Plus, the scoreboard wasn't available either, leading to some interesting debates between fans, coaches, players and the umpires.
The unfamiliar field in the Spartans' first game in Flagstaff following four straight on the road, plus issues with timing with the Elks pitcher, played a bit into the big loss.
Connor Barta had a solid day at the plate with a solo home run late in the bottom of the sixth, along with another RBI earlier in the game as he accounted for both of the Spartans' runs.
Caiden Cribbs went 2 for 4 and Jerry Wilson went 2 for 3 as the two Spartans to record multi-hit days.
Cribbs started the day on the mound for the Spartans and lasted 5 1/3 innings. He started off great, pitching four scoreless innings and leading a tight game into the top of the fifth with Northland Prep up 1-0.
Then came a barrage of runs by the Elks. Round Valley scored four in the fifth and six in the sixth to bust the game open off some poor fielding mistakes and errors by the Spartans.
Once the top of the seventh came around, the Spartans were down big, 9-2, before the Elks added two insurance runs in the frame.
The Spartans (3-2, 3-0 2A Central) are scheduled to take on region opponent Glendale Prep (0-4, 0-4 2A Central) Tuesday afternoon at Sinagua Middle School at 3:45 p.m.
Rams 6, Eagles 3
The D-II Eagles fell for the third match in a row, losing to the D-II Washington Rams on the road in the Valley.
The Eagles took two singles wins and one doubles win in the 6-3 road loss. Flagstaff (2-4, 1-3 Section Two) is scheduled to take on section opponent Bradshaw Mountain on the road in Prescott Valley Friday.
Yeti 9, Rams 0
After suffering their first loss of the season, the D-III Basis Flagstaff Yeti got back into the win column in a big way, sweeping Section Six rival Kingman 9-0 on Tuesday.
The Yeti (4-1, 4-1 Section Six) are scheduled to host section squad Sedona Red Rock, which beat the Yeti, Thursday at home.
Yeti 9, Bulldogs 0
Make it two in a row for the D-III Basis Yeti following a sweep over section squad Kingman Tuesday. The Yeti (2-2, 2-2 Section Six) get Kingman again, this time on the road on Friday.