YUMA, Ariz. - One of the more successful seasons in Arizona Western College baseball history ended with a pair of rallies that fell short.
Starting the day off in the winner's bracket of the West District Tournament and playing on their home digs of Kammann Field at AWC, had to give additional confidence to a team that got to this point taking the more difficult road.
The Matadors barely squeaked into the Region 1 Playoffs as a 4th seed, clinching that spot in the last doubleheader of the entire season. They then go and play both top seeded Cochise and 2nd seed Central Arizona on the road (taking both series to the maximum 3 games) to clinch the Region 1 title and host the WDT.
After winning their initial tournament game on Thursday, the Mats would get a rematch with Central Arizona in the winner's bracket game.
Mats starting pitcher Eric Ligda got to go up against Ryley Widell, who got the best of him in this pitcher's duel; not allowing any AWC runs, while Ligda surrendered 4 of them in his 8 innings of work. It was enough to give the Mats a 4-1 loss and a trip to the elimination bracket.
In AWC's "win or go home" game against Southern Nevada, the Cardinal and Gold had no problems getting hits (20 in the game); they just couldn't get many runs in. The Mats would strand 17 runners on the bases, not getting any runs in until the 8th inning.
By that time, AWC was already in a 5-0 hole that they couldn't overcome in the end. The 6-4 loss ends the greatest season for the program since 1996; when the Mats last won the Region 1 title.