Hunter Rodriguez is finally off the schneid.
It’s a good thing too; otherwise, McClintock’s seventh-inning rally might have made Desert Vista’s 10-7 win on Tuesday a little more interesting.
The Thunder senior, who is definitely known more for his pitching arm than his hitting, hit his first career high school home run after about 130 or so at-bats.
While the trip around the bases was a long time coming for Rodriguez, his four RBI effort against the Chargers meant everything with the long ball coming in the bottom of the sixth to give the Thunder a 10-3 advantage.
“I was kind of due for after not even getting close before that,” Rodriguez said. “My grandpa came so it was cool to do it in front of everyone.”
He added how important it was for the bats to open up a little against McClintock.
“We have been working really hard at the plate,” he said. “We weren’t really doing much early in the year and we put it on ourselves to get better each day.”
The Chargers (3-11), with help from Thunder defense, made it interesting with a four-run seventh inning. Desert Vista committed three of its five errors in the game in the final frame.
“When we scored in the fifth and sixth inning those turned out to be important runs,” Desert Vista coach Stan Luketich said. “It was probably the best thing we did today (adding on the late runs). We were fighting and that’s all you want out of the kids.”
Desert Vista (6-8) jumped on McClintock early as the offense scored five in the second inning for a 6-0 lead to support Luke Leftwich’s solid start.
Aaron Modi drove in the first run in the second inning with a single, while third basemen Tyler Adams and Rodriguez had had a two-run singles.
It was all that Leftwich needed as the left-hander allowed one hit and one earned run in 4 2/3 innings with five strikeouts and four walks. He was pulled in the fifth when the Chargers plated three after two errors by the Thunder defense made matters worse.
“He struggled with command, but he was battling,” Luketich said. “When he was down he was very good.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.