No. 1 seed Hamilton hasn't done much offensively in the 2014 Division I state baseball tournament. It hasn't needed to.
The same can be said for No. 8 Mesquite as the long-time rivals square off for the fourth time this season Tuesday (May 20) for the state title. Game time is 7:30 p.m. at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, spring training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.
Hamilton (29-3) and Mesquite (23-11), coached by close friends Mike Woods and Jeff Holland, respectively, have pitched about as well as teams can this postseason. Hamilton, 4-0 in the tourney, has gotten by scoring 12 runs in four game and allowing only five. Three of its wins are by one run. The other was a scoreless tie heading to the fifth. Mesquite is 5-1 and played its way to the final through the loser's bracket. Mesquite's loss was 2-1 to Hamilton 12 days ago. Mesquite has tallied 31 runs and given up 10.
Hamilton has relied on a strong starting staff led by senior Kent Hasler. Hasler is 2-0 with a save. Junior Zach Pederson (1-0) and sophomore Zane Strand (1-0) were solid in their outings. Pederson was the winning pitcher in the 2-1 win over Mesquite. Hasler has beaten Mesquite twice — the season opener and at midseason at Chase Field.
Mesquite has also used three pitchers in the tournament. Matt Heibult (1-0), James Harrington (2-1) and George Valenzuela (2-0). Valenzuela has earned his decisions in long relief.
This will be Hamilton's seventh championship game appearance. The Huskies have won three titles and been runner-up three. This is Mesquite's second time in the final. The other was in 2008 — a 6-5 loss to Hamilton. Hamilton scored four times in the bottom of the seventh to win that game.
NOTES: Hot hitters in a pitching-rich postseason are hard to find. Mesquite's Parker Holland is 8-for-19, Nick Daley 8-for-21, Nick Gurevitz 6-for-14 and Cole Valletta 6-for-18. Carson Burton, Tyler Pollett and Alex Murrieta have 5 RBI apiece. Hamilton is led by Hunter Robson 5-for-12 and Nick Brueser 2-for-5. Robson and Austin Filiere lead with two RBI each.