It’s just baseball.
That’s how Mountain Pointe coach Brandon Buck described the Pride’s rivalry with Hamilton after their 3-2 loss Friday at Hamilton High School.
Mountain Pointe provided late-inning heroics with back-to-back doubles in the seventh inning to bring the Pride to within one, but solid pitching from Hamilton closed the door and the Huskies prevailed.
The loss brings an end to a three-game win streak for Mountain Pointe (13-5). With the win, Hamilton (20-2) pulls ahead 9-6 in the season series since 2005. Buck said it’s never easy losing to a rival.
“I love playing Hamilton,” Buck said. “They’re a great program. We love coming out and battling those guys, and to be fortunate enough to play them the last few years. To be honest, this is playoff baseball.
“They know it. We know it. Both teams looked forward to this before the season started because we’re both pretty good ball clubs and play a great game.”
The Huskies jumped out to a 1-0 lead after Austin Filiere smashed an RBI double, but the Pride answered in the second inning to tie the game on an RBI single by Tommy Martinez.
Kent Hasler started for the Huskies and pitched a gem. Hasler went a complete game, while striking out 10. He allowed two runs on six hits and one walk.
“Had some trouble there with a few nasty hops,” Hasler said. “I knew I could trust my guys to get some hits. Came down to the wire 3-2, and really glad to take the win.”
Hamilton thought it shut the door in the fifth inning. Filiere led off with a single and advanced to second on a pass ball. Jake Boston came to the plate and laced an RBI single to left-center to give the Huskies the 3-1 lead.
Mountain Pointe led its seventh inning off with a double to right field from Redaja, his third hit of the game, which brought the Pride bench to their feet, but a sacrifice bunt and back-to-back strikeouts ended Mountain Pointe’s late rally.
“I really respect those guys,” Hamilton coach Mike Woods said. “We’re both pretty solid, we just play good baseball, we’ve had some great games in the past. There’s a lot of respect between the two programs.”
Buck said there were primarily positives to take away from a loss like this and few negatives, but Buck said the Pride needs to tweak the pitching a little and cut down on errors so that games aren’t “just baseball.”
“We know what we need to do,” Buck said. “Our goal is to come out, not walk guys, not boot the ball, and unfortunately we made a couple errors today to give them a run. When you play a team like that, give those guys extra bats, it’s tough to beat any team let alone a good team like that.”
Young is a Gilbert-based freelancer.
Hamilton 3, Mountain Pointe 2
Mtn. Pointe 010 000 1—2 6 2
Hamilton 110 010 x—3 11 0
Jorge Carrazco, Peyton Holm (6). Kent Hasler. Win— Hasler; Loss— Carrazco. 2B— Filiere (H); Redaja (MP).