Hamilton coach Mike Woods called it a game for the ego.
Both the Huskies and Mountain Pointe are assured of a spot in the Class 5A Division I state baseball tournament as the Pride entered Wednesday’s game No. 1 in the power rankings and Hamilton was fourth.
So it was about bragging rights and maybe a bit of an advantage should there be a postseason matchup down the line.
And after Mountain Pointe’s 11-1 mercy-rule win, clinched by Joey Curletta’s sixth-inning grand slam, over the Huskies (21-5), the Pride (17-3) would have to be considered the Super Ego under Wood’s thinking.
“When a team is clicking like they are right now you just have to tip your hat to them,” Wood said. “They didn’t do much wrong today, did they? They did a good job. I don’t think did a whole lot wrong, either, except maybe challenge when we shouldn’t have challenged.”
That’s because the monster at the plate known at Kevin Cron got about two pitches to hit all game and ended up with two home runs to give him 20 on the season.
Cron was intentionally walked in his first and fourth at bats. In between Derek Hill has touched up for two home runs by Cron, who is two home runs away from tying his own and Desert Vista’s Corey Myers state record of 22 home runs in a season.
The first one came in the fourth inning after Hamilton took a 1-0 lead on a balk by Cron. The slugging right-hander hit a three-run shot to add to Quinn Tucker’s RBI single for a 4-1 lead.
“That early in the game I didn’t know if I could afford to (intentionally) walk him to load the bases with Curletta hitting behind him,” Wood said. “We felt we needed to pitch to him and we left a ball over the plate.”
That thought process proved to be legit in the sixth when Cron was intentionally walked to load the bases to bring up Curletta. After a brief talk with Pride coach Brandon Buck, Curletta hit a walk-off grand slam for this 17th home run of the season
“(Buck) told to stay within myself and that everyone knows that I am I good player, too.” Curletta said. “He told me to make a good swing and get a piece of it. I guess I got enough of it.”
Buck said the win against a quality non-region opponent at this point of the season can only lead to good things.
“They are a great team and a great program,” he said. “We will take a game like this any time.”
Cron was also the winning pitcher, limiting the Huskies to two hits in six innings.
“He was pumping it in there pretty good,” Buck said.
The three home runs give the Pride 70 on the season and leave them just six away from the state record set by Desert Vista, which hit 76 in 1999.