The Mesquite Baseball Invitational is a tag team event — at least in the Mesquite half of the tournament.
Red Mountain tied Desert Ridge at 2-1 after the second day of play Tuesday afternoon, rallying from a 4-1 deficit to knock off Mesquite, 7-6, at Mesquite High School.
Sloppy play in the field by Mesquite in the fourth and fifth innings and Red Mountain's penchant for taking advantage turned a 4-1 deficit after three innings in to a 7-4 lead an inning and a half later. An infield error, poorly executed cutoff play and a two-run double by Red Mountain's John Downey highlighted a three-run fourth. Matt Metara's sacrifice fly tied the game at 4.
Then in the fifth, back-to-back singles by Hunter Parker and CJ James began the next uprising. Winning pitcher Garrett Duffy followed puttng a sacrifice bunt down the third-base line that was fielded, but thrown wildly to first. It allowed both runners to score and Duffy advanced to third. Duffy scored on Alex Sepulveda's sacrifice fly — which proved to be the game winner.
Mesquite pulled within 7-6 in the bottom of the fifth on a ground out by Cole Valletta and RBI single by Nick Gurevitz. Mesquite had runners in scoring postion in each of the sixth and seventh innings, but failed to plate either. Downey pitched the final two innings for Red Mountain to pick up the save for Duffy.
Mesquite's trio of Tyler Pollett, Valletta and Gurevitz combined to go 9-for-12 at the plate and drove in all six runs. Valletta had a homer and triple and knocked in three of the runs.
None of the five teams in the Mesquite Pool — Red Mountain, Desert Ridge, Mesquite, Queen Creek and Prescott — has won two games in a row. In fact, any team in the pool that wins a game has followed it up with a loss. Red Mountain won its opener on Monday in extra innings and was crushed by Queen Creek in its next game. Mesquite won its opener Monday and suffered a pair of one-run losses on Tuesday. Desert Ridge won its first game Monday and fell to Red Mountain its next time out. Queen Creek lost to Prescott in its second game. Prescott lost twice on Monday.
Heading to the final day of pool play Wednesday (March 12) the Mesquite Pool standings are: Red Mountain and Desert Ridge 2-1, Queen Creek 1-1 and Mesquite and Prescott 1-2. In the Gilbert Pool at Gilbert High, it's been domination so far by Desert Vista (3-0), Basha (2-0) and Gilbert (2-1). McClintock and Bradshaw Mountain are each 0-3.
Basha and Desert Vista play the 9:30 a.m. game at Gilbert High on Wednesday. Basha follows that taking on Gilbert at 12:30 p.m. The top teams from each pool play for the tournament title on Thursday (March 13) at 3:30 at Mesquite.