Red Mountain is pretty much resolved to playing out the string the final two weeks of the prep baseball season. But on Wednesday night the host Mountain Lions put a crimp in Dobson's late-season push to qualify for postseason.
Junior Casey Hershey tossed a complete-game, six-hitter and Red Mountain scored its final five runs on only two hits in notching an 8-2 victory over Dobson in a Division I matchup.
Red Mountain (10-17 overall, 5-12 power-ranking games) fell out of the postseason chase by dropping eight of its past 10 games. Dobson (9-14, 7-7 prg) on the other hand entered Wednesday carrying a six-game winning streak that had boosted the Mustangs two spots from reaching the qualifying position at No. 24 as the season winds down to the last seven days.
Hershey, who hadn't pitched since April 12, matched Dobson's southpaw breaking-ball specialist Tyler Stokes for the first couple innings. Hershey's teammates scratched out a run for him in the third, using a double by John Downey and two wild pitches. Red Mountain tacked on two runs on two hits in the fourth. The key knock a two-out, two-run single to short left-centerfield by Kyle Johnson. A walk — the fifth issued in the game by Stokes — leading off the fourth scored. Two more walks by Stokes in the fifth also crossed home plate as Red Mountain broke the game open with three runs on only one hit. The 6-1 lead after five was plenty for Hershey.
“Casey did a nice job,” Red Mountain coach Ross Pagel said. “He's getting stronger and was good to the finish. I thought our guys did a good job against their pitcher. He (Stokes) is tough. We were more patient the second time through with some better at-bats. I think he was having some issues with command at times and we were able to take advantage.”
Hershey allowed six hits, walked two, struck out seven and allowed one earned run. His biggest K came with the bases-loaded in the fourth when he fanned Dobson's Zarren Snyder to escape the jam. Hershey helped himself again by picking a runner off third in the fifth that limited the damage to a run and kept the score 3-1. Stokes went five innings and gave up four hits. He walked seven and struck out six. The mix of walks and two Dobson errors in the fifth put the game out of reach.
Jacob Stobart and Alex Sepulveda drove in a run each for Red Mountain and Downey scored twice. Red Mountain finished with just five hits, Nick Carr and Forrest Snook had a pair of hits each for Dobson.
Dobson has four games left to play and may need all four to reach postseason. The Mustangs host Horizon on Friday and Gila Ridge on Saturday. They have road games the final week at Desert Mountain and Chandler.