Millennium baseball makes most of Enriquez gem

Millennium senior David Enriquez throws a pitch against Sunrise Mountain on Thursday, March 7 2019 at Sunrise Mountain High School in Peoria. [Jacob Stanek/West valley Preps]

Richard Smith
West Valley Preps

Millennium senior pitcher David Enriquez was not touched for four innings, not bothered until the sixth inning and not scored upon in all seven innings of work Thursday afternoon.

The Tigers took advantage of his three-hit complete game shutout at Sunrise Mountain, chipping away at the plate before breaking through with a four-run top of the fourth.

Senior third baseman Justin Bramman capped the rally by lacing a three-run, two-out triple to right center. With Enriquez dealing – he finished with 10 strikeouts – the only Millennium extra base hit was more than enough.

“Right from the start, my pitches in warm ups were good and I struck out the first three batters of the game,” Enriquez said. “I pitched backwards toward them because I knew they were a good squad. I threw curveballs, then fastballs. From the beginning of the year, I saw Sunrise on the schedule and I wanted to pitch against them because of how good they are.”

The visitors sprayed some singles in the early innings but only senior Cole Tofil posed a threat. He led off the third with a single on an 0-2 count, then swiped second base on an 0-2 count with two out.

Mustangs junior Tyler Davis steadied himself and rung up the strikeout to preserve the scoreless tie.

An inning later, though, he lacked help. Senior Alex Figueroa hit an infield single down the third base line. Then both he and Enriquez were safe following a throwing error to second.

Junior Matthew Obst walked to load the bases with no outs. Senior Tanner Thomason’s RBI single to left broke the scoreless deadlock.

Davis recovered with a strikeout and force play at home and appeared poised to wriggle off the hook until Bramman’s hit.

“When our pitcher comes out and throws like that, it keeps us from pressing (at the plate),” Millennium coach Jerod Burleson said. “It allows you to take a step back and lock in with the approach you’re capable of.”

Even that, Sunrise Mountain coach Michael Deardoff said, could have been avoided with a proper defensive play.

“(Davis) was throwing strikes. The one inning they scored runs, we had two double plays we did not turn and a fly ball to right field we missed,” Deardoff said. Ultimately, we should have caught that and gone to the seventh inning down 1-0.”

Junior Garrett Moltz singled back up the middle to end Enriquez’s perfect game and no-hit bids in the bottom of the fifth. But Sunrise Mountain (2-3) did not threaten until the bottom of the sixth.

Senior Jarret Kellerhals hit a two-out single to left, then a pitch hit sophomore shortstop Andy Moreno in the helmet. Enriquez regrouped and struck out senior Ethan Snodgrass.

“I think it was a combination of both. He threw really well and pounded the strike zone. I think our kids helped him a lot. We weren’t very aggressive in the box and fell behind in a lot of counts. But credit to him, he threw a lot of breaking pitched for strikes,” Deardoff said. “In the last few innings, we had a little bit better approach. With a guy like that who’s a good pitcher, you can’t give them a five-inning head start.”

Millennium is 4-1 in its first regular season in 5A since 2011. And they have an ace to face the new challenge.

Enriquez already has two complete-game shutouts and 22 punch outs in two starts.

“It’s not a shock to me. Every time the kid takes the ball, he competes. Not only is he a great pitcher, he’s even a better competitor,” Burleson said. “No moment is too big for him. He wants to play (against) the best and he wants the ball.”

Sunrise Mountain’s Andy Moreno attempts to turn a double play against Millennium on Thursday, March 7 2019 at Sunrise Mountain High School in Peoria. [Jacob Stanek/West valley Preps]

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