The Yukon baseball team got off to a rough start on their spring trip to the Phoenix area this week with losses to Liberty (7-4) and Sunrise Mountain (10-9) on Monday.
However, the Millers responded well to their first taste of adversity this season. Yukon played Sunny Slope in their third game of the tournament and their first game on Tuesday. They battled the Arizona squad but fell 3-2.
Yukon coach Kevin James said his team played well enough to win the game.
“We did everything right,” James said. “We just hit hard line drives right at them and they were able to track them down in the outfield. We pitched well, played solid defense and hit the ball well. That’s just how baseball is sometimes.”
In game four of the road trip, the Millers finally got onto the winning side of the scoreboard with a 7-3 victory over Cactus Shadows. Sophomore Dakota Ward stole the show for Yukon in the game with a complete game on the pitcher’s mound. The Arizona team had trouble with the hard-throwing right hander, who was having a solid day of mixing up his off speed pitches with his fastball.
“That was probably our best overall game we played this whole season,” James said. “Dakota (Ward) pitched a heck of a game for us. At this point in the season, to have a guy able to go a complete seven-innings is tough to do. He really impressed us.”
In their fifth and final game on Wednesday, the Millers took on Coco-Nino and got the 6-1 win to improve their tournament record to 2-3 and their overall record this season to 4-3.
James said he was pleased with how his team battled throughout the tournament.
“If you take out the first two innings of each of the first two games, we have a good chance at winning those two games,” James said. “The first team we played, Liberty, is considered one of the top teams in Arizona. Our guys didn’t quit after getting down early in the first two games. They battled back and stuck with it. I was proud of our how we showed toughness.”
James named several players that stood out to him on the road trip.
“I really thought Cross Factor played well for us,” James said. “Dalton DeBaud, Dakota Ward and B.J. Lee all showed me some good things on the trip. I thought all of our guys really played hard and battled throughout the entire tournament.”
It wasn’t all work for the Yukon baseball team on their spring break trip. On Sunday, the Millers were able to go and watch the Padres and Indians in a Major League spring training game.
“This was a good trip, a fun trip,” James said. “I thought we grew up a lot as a team.”
Yukon will be back in action at 4:30 p.m. Monday when they host Edmond Santa Fe. They will travel to Santa Fe for a 4:30 p.m. match up with the T-Wolves on Tuesday.
The Millers arrived back in Yukon early Friday morning and they will practice at 2 p.m. Sunday before their Monday game with Santa Fe.