For four innings, Tuesday’s (March 11) baseball game between Phoenix Mountain Pointe and host Scottsdale Desert Mountain featured a pitcher’s duel.
Then, in an instant, the complexion of the game changed.
With one out in the top of the fifth in a scoreless game, Mountain Pointe had runners at second base (double) and first base (intentional walk).
The Desert Mountain pitcher attempted a pickoff throw to first base, but the ball was directly in the path of the runner as he stepped back toward the bag. The ball did not hit him, but the first baseman could not catch it, either and the ball went past him and rolled past him in foul territory along the right-field line.
The lead runner scored and two more runners came home on RBI singles in the inning and Mountain Pointe went on to defeat the defending Division I champion 4-1.
Mountain Pointe improved to 7-2 and Desert Mountain continued to struggle at 1-7.
“Things can change like that pretty quickly,’’ said Mountain Pointe coach Brandon Buck.
“I thought we were swinging the bats pretty well the whole game, but the ball went right at them (Desert Mountain) a couple of times. In that big inning, we were able to get a couple of two-out hits, which was key for us.’’
Cooper Davis and Jake Alexander had RBI hits after the error. The Pride took a 4-0 lead in the top of the sixth. Desert Mountain scored its run in the sixth on a run-scoring single by Thomas Wright.
Buck used a pair of right-handers, starter Jorge Carrazco and reliever Peyton Holm, to keep Desert Mountain under control. The Wolves only managed five hits.
“Our pitching has been great all season,’’ Buck said. “We have 11 guys we can use who can pitch effectively. I know it sounds crazy, but we do. I think our ERA is 2.3, something like that.
“We had to be on top of our game today because Desert Mountain is a good team. They are a great program. They were state champions. They have had it a little tough, but they also have played kind of a tough schedule.’’