It’s hard to completely put out a fire when the embers burn as hot as the Desert Vista bats have been all season.
It was on display again Tuesday as the Thunder rallied once again for a crucial 8-7 win over rival Mountain Pointe on the road as the regular season winds down.
The Thunder, who began the day fourth in the power rankings, trailed 4-0 after three innings when Mountain Pointe cleanup hitter Taylor Martin hit a three-run home run off left-handed starter Isaiah Deutsch, who was home run short of the cycle.
The Desert Vista resiliency showed up in the fourth with two runs, keyed by a Deutsch triple and Alex Farina single, and three more in the fifth that was started by a Michael Popeck solo shot off starter Jorge Carrazco and finished by an RBI single by Cullen Bottock.
“We always battle and that’s what we needed against a team like this,” said shortstop Keenan Bartlett, who came on for the save. “We’ve been in that situation so much we know we are always in a game. We got down early, but it wasn’t anything we haven’t done before.”
Third-ranked Mountain Pointe (14-8, 11-4) tied it in the fifth when Cole Tucker walked, stole second, advanced to third on Bryce Redaja’s bunt single and scored on Martin’s sacrifice fly.
The Thunder (18-7, 10-5) responded again on a RBI double by Garrison Schwartz and added two more in the seventh on RBI triple by Bartlett and a squeeze bunt by AJ Valencia.
Desert Vista, which improved to 8-1 on the road, needed every one of those runs as Redaja crushed a two-run shot of Bartlett in the seventh to close within 8-7.
The key to Thunder offense all game were the sixth through ninth hitters (Deutsch, Farina, Bottock, Bartlett) as they combined to go 11 for 14 with five runs and five RBIs.
“They hit the heck out of the ball,” Pride coach Brandon Buck said. “When you look at their lineup, that’s not your typical eight or nine guys. They hit that ball hard all game.”
It was the fourth loss in five games for the Pride with each defeat coming by one run.
“That’s baseball,” said Carrazco, who gave up four earned on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. “We are playing hard, having good ABs and we are not intimidated by anyone. It’s going to turn around.”
Mountain Pointe has three games left and close out the regular season April 29 at home against Desert Ridge.
The Thunder have two games remaining as they play at Chandler Thursday and at Chase Field on Saturday against Corona del Sol to try and nail down a top seed and first-round bye.
Contact writer: (480) 899-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.
Desert Vista 8, Mountain Pointe 7
DV 000 231 2 - 8 14 2
MP 103 010 2 - 7 7 1
Deutsch, Gibbs (5), Barlett (7) and Gibbs, McKinney (5). Carrazco, Holm (5) and Bitar. WP - Gibbs. LP - Holm. S - Bartlett. 2B - Deutsch, Farina, Martinez. 3B - Deutsch, Bartlett. HR - Popeck, Martin, Redaja.SF - Farina, Redaja, Martin. SAC - Valencia. SB - Bartlett, Tucker. HBP - Popeck (Carrazco), Hardy (Carrazco). IBB - Deutsch.