Tyler Rapp struck out seven on his way to a complete-game win Friday. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

The Maricopa Rams baseball team came off back-to-back losses to pull out an important sectional game at home against Tempe Friday, 3-1.

“It was a huge game,” Coach Andrew Pollak said. “We kind of had a hiccup on Wednesday, and it was good to come back today to even out the week.”

It was also an emotional night for the boys. Senior Night not only honored the five seniors on the field but also expanded into the Nate Ford Community Night. After being introduced with their own parents, the seniors – Tyler Rapp, Chad Nechtweh, Ivan Herrera, Kevin Borboa and Christian Garcia – escorted Nate Ford’s parents Jennifer and Doug onto the field for a tribute to their late son.

The Rams dedicated this season to Ford.

“They’ve been through a lot,” Pollak said. “They’ve done everything I’ve asked. Also the entire season we’ve talked about our responsibility to Nate. We know he’s with us every game. It’s tough, but all we can do is continue to show his attributes in our games.”

Rapp pitched a complete game Friday, allowing only an unearned run while striking out seven. Pollak called his work “Phenomenal.” Rapp also had two hits in the game.

Sophomore Taylor Belcher knocked in two of Maricopa’s three runs. Garcia picked up the other RBI.

Now the Rams prepare for the final two games of the regular season. Monday is a home game, and Wednesday is on the road to Combs High School.

“We’ve got McClintock on Monday, and they’re doing a lot better job this year,” Pollak said. “They’re very much improved, and we’ll be ready to go.”

Maricopa’s 11-8 loss to much weaker Sierra Linda on Wednesday dropped them in the Division III rankings a bit. Their 16th standing still keeps them well within the top 32 that qualify for the state tournament.

Borboa had three RBIs in that game. He, Rapp and Belcher all hit doubles.

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