Mountain Pointe nearly put the nail in the coffin early in its game against Corona del Sol on Wednesday.
By the end, the Pride was biting its nails instead.
Joey Curletta pitched a perfect seventh inning for the save as No. 7 Mountain Pointe survived a late rally from the No. 9 Aztecs for a 9-8 victory in a Division I baseball game at Corona del Sol.
The lead for Mountain Pointe (16-9-1) was 8-0 after the top of the second and 9-3 heading into the sixth, but Corona del Sol never went away. The Aztecs (16-10) scored five runs in the sixth inning and entered the bottom of the seventh down by just the run, but couldn’t get anything going offensively.
Curletta induced a fly-out from Kyle Jorgensen and then struck out Mike Gammon and Shawn Maloney to end it.
“We gave them a pretty good shot, but hey, we stopped it,” Mountain Pointe coach Brandon Buck said. “That’s the big thing.”
Mountain Pointe looked to be cruising early when it scored three runs in the first inning and five more in the second. Corona del Sol got three back in the bottom of the second, but Mountain Pointe went ahead 9-3 on an RBI single by Sam Kingery in the fifth inning.
However, four hits, a walk and an error led to the Aztecs charging back in the sixth. Jorgensen, the team’s most dangerous hitter, went 2-for-3 with a walk and a solo home run, but couldn’t get the seventh inning started productively, and Corona didn’t threaten in its final at-bat.
Coach Dave Webb was disappointed in the slow start that put the team in a hole.
“We did not play focused baseball at all early,” Webb said. “It took us until the third or fourth inning.”
The defending champion Pride has now won six of its past seven games and is rounding into form following a slow start.
Sophomore Ernie De La Trinidad led the way in this one, finishing with 2-for-3 with a home run, a walk and four RBIs.
“That kid’s a gamer,” Buck said. “He has a tremendous approach at the plate. He’s calm. He never gets rattled. He knows what he’s trying to do up there, regardless of the pitcher, and when you stick to your plan, you’re going to have success.”
Mountain Pointe entered the contest as the No. 13 seeded team in Division I power points and is trying to make a run at the top-8, because those teams get a first round bye.
Corona del Sol began the day at No. 18 and is trying to stay away from the bubble. The top 24 teams make the tournament.