Rene Solis delivered a pitching gem in his season finale with the Watertown Wizards, backed by a clutch performance from a college teammate to preserve the win.
The left-hander was nearly perfect in seven innings of work and reliever Jonathan Perez worked out of a ninth-inning jam as the Wizards held off the Elmira Pioneers, 6-4 on Tuesday in a Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League game at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
I felt good, I felt really confident with my defense out there, said Solis, who is heading home after a long year in college and in Watertown. Eddie (Salas) did a great job out there calling pitches and we started hitting the ball, its always great when you get that run support.
Solis, who attends St. Marys University of Texas along with Perez, retired 20 of the 21 batters he faced to improve to 4-1 for Watertown (15-21).
Hes very good and this is what we have come to expect of him, Watertown manager Nathan Kafka said of Solis. He did pretty well, hes fun to watch and he goes about his business the right way hes been great for this pitching staff.
After allowing a leadoff home run by Spencer Brann in the second, Solis recorded 18 consecutive outs. He struck out the side in the third, and finished with eight strikeouts.
I knew I had to bounce back after that and all I could do was keep pitching, Solis said. I just got in a rhythm and my teammates picked me up after that.
We werent swinging the bat very well and the Solis kid had his game going on, Elmira manager Dan Shwam said. Hes pretty tough to hit because he can throw three pitches for a strike and with the free swingers in this league if you can throw pitches for a strike youre going to win a lot of ball games.
The Wizards led 6-1 entering the ninth inning, but called on Perez after Elmira (14-22) scored three runs on four consecutive hits, including a two-run single by Landon Prentiss to draw within two runs.
The Pioneers had the tying runs on base with no outs when Perez relieved Kyle McNutt and after the base runners advanced to second and third base on a sacrifice bunt down the third-base line, Perez fanned the final two batters to record his fourth save.
Im used to this, Perez said of the pressure situation. Thats been my role at St. Marys, so I was ready pretty quick out there.
That St. Marys pitching connection has helped carry the Wizards to two straight home victories as fellow Rattler Matt McClain recorded the win in an 18-1 triumph over Cooperstown on Monday.
Thats pretty awesome, said Perez, who hails from San Antonio along with Solis and McClain. With the guys that Ive played with at school, knowing that you can count on them makes it real comfortable being here.
For the second straight night, Watertown provided plenty of run support, including two runs in the third inning to take the lead for good.
After Salas and Donald Walter doubled, Derek Hagy followed with a run-scoring bloop single and Jordan Enos hit an RBI sacrifice fly.
The Wizards led 3-1 in the fifth on another RBI flyout by Enos and scored three decisive runs in the sixth on an RBI single from Brandon Roush and a two-run single by Walter to build a 6-1 advantage.
Solis finished with 49 strikeouts in 48 innings this season with Watertown and allowed only 14 runs, seven of them earned, and issued only 10 walks.
Kafka said Solis was out of innings. Hes thrown a ton between his college and summer ball seasons, he actually told me that he was done. It was good that he let me know that.