Kevin Cron's value as a hitter is undisputed, but his most important attributes may be his mentality as a pitcher.
Cron threw a complete game in Mountain Pointe's 3-2 victory against Gilbert Friday.
"He's a man," Mountain Pointe coach Brandon Buck said. "He's a guy that wants the ball all the time, doesn't matter the situation. If we played tomorrow against Hamilton, he'd want the ball again."
Cron gave up two runs on seven hits, adding six strikeouts and no walks. While he had a quiet day at the plate, Cron finished what he started on the mound-something that has become frequent.
"Because of his type of mentality, we are doing what we're doing this year," Buck said. "When you're best player wants the ball and is never going to shy away from it, it spreads to everyone else."
It was a back and forth game until the Pride's Jordan Kipper broke the 2-2 tie in the bottom of the sixth with what turned out to be the game winning solo home run.
"I missed a couple pitches earlier in the game," Kipper said. "I just wasn't going to miss this one."
Brantley Bell also added a home run for Mountain Pointe (17-4), giving the Pride 58 on the year, just two less than its previous record of 60 set last year.
Gilbert (11-10) threatened in the top of the third, loading the bases with no outs and the top of the order coming up. Cron clamped down on the Tigers, striking out the next two batters before walking in a run. It was a great job of limiting what setup to be a big inning for Gilbert.
"That's probably the ballgame in a nutshell for us," Gilbert coach Matt Gutierrez said. "If we score two, three, four runs there having the heart of our order coming up, I thought that's where we could have taken advantage."
The Tigers stayed in the game with a strong pitching performance from southpaw Justin McAllister. McAllister gave up three runs on six hits with three strikeouts. He was hurt by the long ball, but held down a potent offense in Mountain Pointe.
"McAllister is a great pitcher," Buck said. "He does a great job of locating his pitches and mixing up the speed."
Gutierrez said he was happy that his team showed they could play with one of the best teams in the state. Buck was happy how his team competed and beat a good ball club.
While Mountain Pointe scored its lowest run total of the season, Kipper said the Pride was comfortable knowing Cron was going to do his part - on the mound.
"Every time he comes out, it's guaranteed seven innings," Kipper said. "He steps up every time. He's money."
Kemp is a freshman journalism major at Arizona State.