Rawlins slugger Chance Archuleta at bat against Evanston on June 1.

EVANSTON – Robert Flores was given the late-game nod by manager Pete Serna. And with bases loaded, up by just one tenuous run, the Rawlins closer turned out to be the right man for the right job: help hoist the Colonels to their first win of the season.

Facing an Evanston team that barely swept the Colonels in their first meeting this season, the Colonels got a little payback as they nabbed a 9-8 comeback win on Saturday in Trappers territory.

Down 8-3 going into the seventh inning, Rawlins’ bats nearly incinerated as they managed to knock in six runs against Evanston pitcher Conner Peterson. And, befittingly so, Isiaha Flores – the other illustrious Flores brother – was first to crack the comeback inning off at the diamond.

He’d single. Teammate Blane Mathill would then crack a double. Fellow teammate Chance Archuleta would follow suit with a hit. And the flood gates simply opened from there.

Interestingly enough, however, it wasn’t just quality Rawlins hitting that kept the bases turning. With the help of P.J. Serna, the Colonels recorded five total steals that inning.

And when they finally ended the side, it was Robert Flores’ turn to steal the show.

With just one out and Evanston loading the bases in dramatic fashion, the Rawlins closer was able to control a skittering grounder smacked by Evanston hitter Derek Macdonald, which turned into a miraculous 1-2-3 double play to end the game.

“Robert was able to knock down a pretty good hit,” coach Serna said. “It became that situation where it was a nail-biter.”

But the early-June bash fest began favorably for Rawlins. Coach Serna said that his sluggers, who’ve averaged five hits every game thus far, wore down Trappers starting pitcher Hank Allred early in the first, using patience and composure.

Although Allred would go on to record eight strikeouts, the Colonels would take an early-game, 3-0 lead.

Isiaha Flores would start things off with a double-base hit to leftfield. Archuleta would later get him across on a groundout.

A double by Colonels slugger Michael Lesco and a costly error made by Evanston catcher Eric Greer would give Rawlins two more runs.

The Trappers, however, would answer right back in the bottom of the first, scoring four runs on Colonels starting pitcher P.J. Serna. They would then add four more runs between the third and fourth innings.

But the five-run deficit didn’t deter the Colonels from finding the ball. With Southeast Conference play against Wheatland and Cheyenne this week, Rawlins was given a friendly reminder that something good needed to happen if they were to have any chance at competing.

“And they did,” said coach Serna of his team persevering. “They focused and came back in that last inning.”

Now, with two big matchups against conference foes, coach Serna said the win is a step in the right direction, even though it will “come with a lot of work.”

“We’ll be great, I think,” he said. “We’ve got a good shot at state this year.”

On the mound, P.J. Serna recorded three strikeouts while giving up six runs and seven hits in three innings. In relief, teammate Zach Waring zipped three strikeouts while giving up two runs on three hits in three innings. Robert Flores ended his game-winning inning with one strikeout and just one hit.

At the plate, Archuleta led the Colonels with two RBI, two hits and one run scored in four at bats. Meanwhile, Robert Flores recorded an RBI on one hit via four at bats. Mathill and Lesco chipped in an RBI respectively.

Rawlins, as a team, collected 10 hits and five RBI, while they struck out 11 times.

With the win, the Colonels split the series with Evanston, 1-1. They lost 18-0 the first game.

As of Monday press time, Rawlins currently sits at 1-5-0.

Rawlins played a double-header against Wheatland yesterday at home. They’re set to host a double-header against Cheyenne B today at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Rawlins Sports Complex.

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