The Mountain Pointe baseball team will not be sneaking any backdoor sliders past anyone this season.
The Pride was the top team in the Class 5A Division I power rankings after Wednesday night's 11-1 win over Hamilton with three regular season games remaining.
If Mountain Pointe, which won 11 straight heading into Thursday's action, holds on the Pride will enter the postseason as the top seed.
It's a little different than last season when the Pride advanced to the 5A-I finals before losing to Desert Ridge as the sixth seed. The unsuspecting sixth seed with a young roster that really probably didn't know any better.
Now there is a good chance the Pride, which beat Desert Ridge last week to grab a share of first palce in the East Valley Region standings, could be the target for the other 15 teams in the double elimination tournament that gets started Saturday, April 30.
"I think everyone shoots to get the best seed possible," Mountain Pointe coach Brandon Buck said. "If we are the No. 1 seed that would be awesome, but we can only control the way we play. We have a handful of games left and a shot to get the No. 1 seed.
"At this point in the season that is all you can ask for."
Desert Vista was on the other end of the spectrum, sitting 29th out of 31 teams in the power rankings, heading into last week as the Thunder was in the midst a four-game losing streak.
Since April 12, Desert Vista won four of five games, including Wednesday's 10-8 eight-inning walk-off win over Corona del Sol on Colby Woodmansee's two-run home run, to try and extend its postseason streak to eight straight seasons.
Hamilton has already clinched the Fiesta Region title so Desert Vista has to fight its way into the postseason.
The hot streak entering Thursday's action moved the Thunder into the top 20 with a home-and-home series with Brophy left next week. A few more wins could move Desert Vista into the top 16, which should be enough unless a region champion, which gets an automatic bid, falls outside of the tournament field.
Mountain Pointe, on the other hand, will not have to sweat out the final few games. It doesn't mean the Pride is going to let up by any means, but it makes the preparation for the postseason easier because they can play with the knowledge that all of their hard work has almost assuredly locked up a top seed.
"You want to be playing well, kicking on all cylinders," Buck said. "There are several points in the season. Spring break tournaments prepare you for region play, region play prepares you for the postseason. We have to finish strong."
A little caveat in the final week and beyond is the Pride's chase of the all-time state record for home runs for a season.
After hitting six home runs in the first two games of the week, Mountain Pointe's total reached 70 to sit six long balls away from tying the mark of 76 set by Desert Vista in 1999.
Additionally, Kevin Cron entered Thursday's action with 20 home runs this season and Joey Curletta had 17. Both are within reach of the individual season record of 22 held by Cron (last season) and Desert Vista's Cory Myers (1999).
"We talk about the records but winning comes first," Curletta said. "If we come up short of the home run record but win it all, what's the difference? It would be nice to get both (records and state title) but we really only care about winning."
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