It’s a pretty good sign when the bottom of the batting order is creating havoc and driving in big runs.
And that sign now points to Tempe Diablo Stadium as No. 14 Mountain Pointe managed to stay alive in the Division I consolation bracket with an 11-4 win Tuesday over No. 24 Corona del Sol at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
The Pride put together a six-run fifth inning to overcome a 4-1 deficit with two runs in the fourth and six more in the fifth to end Corona’s season once and for all after the Aztecs barely made the tournament as the final entrant.
The big inning saw the Pride’s Cole Tucker start the inning with a single off Corona starter Chris Tate and then drive in the final run of the inning with a sacrifice fly off Nathan Chokey, the fourth pitcher of the inning.
“We knew had to come back and put something on the board to show them we were still in the game,” Tucker said. “After we did that, it really helped us and let them know it wasn’t over.”
The big hit of the inning came after Jake Alexander took a bases loaded walk to tie it at 4 and Bryce Redaja gave Mountain Pointe (23-8) the lead with a single when junior first baseman Taylor Martin hit a towering double to right field to score two for a 7-4 lead.
“Once one of our guys gets it going everyone else jumps on board,” said Martin, who had three hits and four RBIs. “We knew they were going to give us a good fight. We just do what we do and it's usually enough.”
It was against Corona (16-13) and it pushes the Pride to the final four where they will play either Pinnacle or Chaparral on Thursday at 4 p.m. at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
If the bottom half of the order can continue hitting the way it did against the Aztecs, Mountain Pointe will be in a good position.
The bottom four – Alexander, Redaja, Martin and Tommy Martinez – combined to go 7 for 12 with two walks, four runs and eight RBIs.
“I was so proud of our kids because no one swung out of their backside (after falling behind 4-1),” Pride coach Brandon Buck said. “Everybody had a good approach, tried to get good pitches and worked the count.
“I think we can swing it up and down the lineup and that was evident today.”
Pride starter Zach Cordova was benefactor as he improved to 3-0 with a save in the postseason. The left-handed UNLV commit gave up the four in the fourth inning after the Aztecs opened the frame with three straight hits, but otherwise controlled the lineup despite facing them for a third time this season.
In the complete game he allowed seven hits, four earned with three strikeouts and no walks.
Corona had a heck of a run after barely making the postseason as it won eight of 10 before falling to the Pride. The Aztecs entered the final day of action at No. 28 in the power rankings, but because some of the teams they played during the season were able to win on the final day they got in.
Some of the players showed up without their equipment – one was wearing a bathing suit in practice – because they didn’t think they had a chance to get in the tournament.
The Aztecs got in and did some damage along the way before tired arms led to two bad relief outings against the Pride.
“We are trying look at the positives,” Corona coach Dave Webb said. “It’s high school baseball. It was rough to get the important outs, but those two guys pitched their rear ends off all postseason. I couldn’t ask anything more of them.
“I couldn’t be more proud of all of them. They really bought into starting over once we made the playoffs and bought into the way we were going to play, aggressively.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.