Mesa Mountain View's Spencer Moran and Desert Ridge's Caleb Rodriguez delivered plenty of outs on Thursday afternoon, but it came down to some small ball to tip the scales Mountain View's way.
Conner Wise delivered a sacrifice fly as part of a two-run, fourth inning and the Toros used that frame to produce a 3-0 victory over visting Desert Ridge in a Division I power-ranking game.
Mountain View improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in power-ranking games with the win. Desert Ridge (4-2, 0-1) has been busy this week. The Jaguars played games Tuesday and Wednesday to continue the Scottsdale Invitational and made it three games in as many days with its first power-ranking game under new coach Bryan Rice. Desert Ridge's bats were booming in its first five games with the Jaguars tallying 46 runs in five tourney contests.
But with both teams lining up their rotation for a meaningful game Thursday, Moran and Rodriguez toned down the offenses. The teams combined for nine hits — six singles, two doubles and a home run.
Moran, a senior right-hander, finished allowing two hits, walking four and striking out six. Moran got help from his defense in the second and third innings with a double plays in each. Mountain View's 380-foot dimension in center field saved two runs in the fourth on a long drive off the bat of Desert Ridge's Ryan Foster. Foster cranked a 2-1 pitch 378 feet as Toros center fielder Chase Rich brushed the ivy making the catch. Moran escaped his final inning of work getting the left-handed hitting Rodriguez to slice a liner to left field — right at the Toros' Brady Gerber.
“We made some big defensive plays to help Spence, but I thought he pitched very well,” Mountain View coach Mike Thiel said. “Getting out of the second inning with the bases loaded and nobody out was huge.”
Rodriguez gave Desert Ridge five solid innings. the left-hander allowed four hits, walked three and struck out three. The Toros tallied in the fourth thanks to a leadoff walk to Brent Bailey and a Kyler Kocher single to the right side that Desert Ridge second baseman Ian Raidy dove for and knocked down. Thiel called for a pinch-hitter for his No. 6 hitter, Alex Traylor, the Toros' leading hitter through the first four games. Thiel opted for a better bunter and Nate Patterson did the job moving the runners to second and third.
Wise was next up and lofted a scoring fly to right for a 1-0 lead. No. 8 hitter Parker Hills batted next and ripped a ball sharply at Desert Ridge shortstop Cam Richins. Richins mishandled it and it deflected toward second base and the outfield grass. Kocher raced home from third as the ball was relayed late to home.
Mountain View added an extra run in its half of the sixth when Hills launched a towering homer to left field off reliever Robert Morris. Bailey took over to pitch the seventh and immediately surrendered an infield hit and hit a batter to give Desert Ridge hope. Bailey settled in, however, getting a fly out to right and a soft liner to second that the Toros turned into a third- and game-ending double play.
“That's baseball,” Rice said of his team getting blanked after so much success offensively the first five games. “We hit some balls hard, some right at people. The ball does not carry to center here. It dies. When we had chances to score, I think we tried to do too much. LIke the inning we had the bases loaded and noone out…..
“Mountain View played a great game. Made the plays defensively. We have a lot of kids getting some opportunities for the first time. These kids are a pleasure to coach. They come to work and work hard every day.”