It was just one pitch in a day’s work.
Every one of them isn’t going to be placed exactly where every hurler would like. So when Zach Cordova’s first pitch of the game was crushed it out of the park by Brophy senior David Graybill, it was easy to let it go.
“It was a solo shot, so I wasn’t too worried,” Mountain Pointe junior Cordova said. “I know I left the ball right down the middle, right at his belt. (From then on) I just located, threw my off-speed pitch and it all worked out in the end.”
From that pitch on, it was Cordova and the Pride behind him who crushed their opposition.
Mountain Pointe (10-7-1, 5-3 in power rankings) rode Cordova’s complete game and two home runs in its victory over Brophy 8-2 at home on Friday.
“With what Graybill did the very first pitch of the game, for (Cordova) just to focus back up and stay on it and minimize it, shows a lot of his mental toughness,” Pride coach Brandon Buck said.
Against one of best lineups in the state, Cordova pitched seven innings, allowing only two runs on eight hits with a walk and a strikeout. The second run came on another home run, this time by senior Nick Jewett in the fourth inning.
“We need to strive for better at-bats (and) keep the ball out of the air a little bit,” Brophy coach Tom Succow said. “We get a little homer happy, a little big-swing happy sometimes and we hit some lazy fly balls. That hurts us.”
What might have killed the Broncos (11-5, 5-3) the most was the four walks their starting pitcher, junior Michael Westra, allowed. Succow admitted Westra, whom he considers their No. 1 pitcher, doesn’t usually walk four batters in a game, but the fact that all four of those came in for runs was an issue.
Westra was tagged with his first loss of the season and gave up more runs in the first inning (three) than he had through 21 innings this season (two), according to Maxpreps.com.
He went 3 2/3 innings, allowing eight runs on five hits with a strikeout, before junior Steven Olesak relieved him for the last two innings through which he allowed one walk and struck out two.
The Pride’s ability to push more than a few runs across was a welcomed sight after struggling to do so the last few games.
“Every game this week, we’ve had guys on but we haven’t been able to get that hit that we needed with two outs,” Buck said. “Today we made hits when we had to have them.”
In fact, five of Mountain Pointe’s runs came with two outs. The best example of a clutch hit the team has been searching for was senior Joey Curletta’s three-run homer in the fourth inning, giving the Pride the cushion they needed to sustain their lead the rest of the game.
Offensive standouts for Mountain Pointe included senior Scott Kingery, who went 2-for-3 with a home run, two RBIs and three runs, and sophomore Ernie De La Trinidad, who went 1-for-2 with two RBIs.
For the Broncos, Graybill finished 3-for-4 with the lead-off home run, one RBI and a stolen base, while Jewett went 2-for-3 with a home run and one RBI.
Chris Cole is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. He is a sophomore at Arizona State University.