In what turned out to be a defensive struggle, the Basha Bears defeated the Mountain Pointe Pride 3-2 on Wednesday in 6A baseball.
The win moves Basha to 10-3-1 on the season heading into the region schedule, and drops Mountain Pointe to 5-5 after two tough one-run losses on consecutive nights. The Pride lost 9-8 to Chandler on a walk-off on Tuesday.
Mountain Pointe’s pitcher Cameron Polich threw a solid, complete game, especially after giving up two runs in the first inning. Overall, he gave up just three earned runs on five hits, but ultimately the offense did not give enough run support.
“Really, we couldn’t string enough good at-bats together and enough hits together to make it matter,” Mountain Pointe assistant coach Seth Melton said.
A game that had both teams making errors and wild pitches in the first inning slowed down significantly as the game went on. Both squads improved their fielding and pitching down the stretch, until Basha got the advantage in the top of the sixth inning.
Basha catcher Seth Beckstead hit the left-field scoreboard on a solo home run that everybody, including players in the outfield, knew was gone as soon as it left his bat.
He said he was seeing the ball well all game. When the pitch he wanted came, Beckstead knew he needed to take his chance and capitalize in such a close game.
“I didn’t think they were going to give me a fastball, but I was still going to look for it. And I got one and hit it,” he said.
That third run was all the Bears needed to hold off the Pride, as pitcher Kyle Wullenweber handled the last two innings without giving up a run.
Having closed the last three wins for Basha, he said he gets excited about the intense moments the closing role presents.
And the intensity was high in this one.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, the final inning in high school baseball, Mountain Pointe got the potentially tying runner on first on an infield error. Next up was the Pride’s Josh Wunnenburg, a senior and one of the team’s best hitters.
“I’ve got to blow it past this guy,” Wullenweber thought to himself standing on the mound.
He pitched a great sequence, throwing his fastball for a swinging strike three, one of his two strikeouts he threw in the two nearly-flawless innings. He dominated using the pitches he knew best.
“The curveball wasn’t working well, so I just had to work my fastball and change-up,” he said.
When asked about what went wrong for the Pride, Melton said a series of small mistakes made the difference in the game, and the coaching staff stressed minute details to the players in the post-game huddle.
“The conversation was mostly that little things turned to big things. We missed some signs, some things we didn’t execute,” he said, adding, “In games like this, one-run games, if you don’t execute, certain things it came back to bite us.”
In fact, it was one of the execution mistakes that allowed Beckstead to hit his home run.
He was not expecting to get a fastball, and the Mountain Pointe coaching staff was not expecting him to get one either.
“It was a missed sign. It was supposed to be a different pitch,” Melton said.
Beckstead said this win gives the team momentum before a three-day break, and could be a game they use to boost themselves into a championship run.
“This is what games are going to be like the rest of the year with our section (region) games coming up, and we’ve just got to be big and keep it going,” he said.
– Newman is a sports journalism student at Arizona State.