Mountain Pointe's first-round playoff win on Saturday was something the Pride had been waiting on for about 50 weeks.
The team's season ended in the state championship game last year, the day after there was a team meeting and this is what they were focused on - a chance to take the next step.
That process started at home as the No. 2 Pride beat No. 15 Phoenix Maryvale, 12-2 in five innings in Class 5A Division I action.
"We had a meeting after the state championship game, knowing who we had coming back, and how we had a chance to do something special," Mountain Pointe coach Brandon Buck said. "We had a great regular season, but this is the time where we want to be at our best."
Mountain Pointe (24-5) had a monster two-out rally to put the game away as the Pride led 5-2 with two outs in the fifth before Justin Tibbitt singled to right. When Brantley Bell's fly ball was dropped by the right fielder on the warning track, it was the cue the Mountain Pointe offense needed to put the game away.
Sam Kingery walked, Quinn Tucker hit a two-run single, Scott Kingery hit a two-run home run, Jordan Kipper singled off the shortstop's glove and Kevin Cron's hit the game-ending two-run shot to enact the mercy rule.
"We've been known to do that," Cron, who extended his state single-season record to 24 home runs, said of the two-out rally. "We know the runs are going to come. It is just a matter of when. They gave us an extra out and we took advantage of it."
Before the seven-run fifth Maryvale pitcher Leon Garcia did OK, keeping the Pride hitter's off balance, but was unable to pick up his teammate after the error. He ended up getting pulled after 4 2/3 innings, allowing 15 hits, 12 runs (5 earned) with no strikeouts and two walks.
Maryvale (15-9) had to deal with Cron on the mound as well as the big right-hander allowed three hits, two earned and struck out 12 in five innings.
The Panthers pulled within 4-2 in the third inning when Fernando Diaz reached after being hit by a pitch and moved to second on David Ramirez's single. Both runners scored on Garcia's two-run double, but Cron was in control, striking out the side three times.
"When he is in the mound we know he is going to get the job done," senior left fielder Quinn Tucker said. "He is going to blow the ball past them and get our offense back into the dugout."
Ah, the offense.
The team now has 82 home runs after they hit three - Joey Curletta had a first-inning, two-run shot to give him 20 on the season - off Maryvale pitching.
Kipper had three hits and two RBIs, Scott Kingery had three hits and three RBIs, Tibbitt had two hits and Tucker had two hits, two RBIs, two runs and stolen base.
"We don't get worried in the dugout when we don't score because we know it is going to come eventually," Curletta said. "It's always the next inning in our mind."
The Pride advances to Tuesday's second round in Pool B action and will play at 7 p.m. against Tucson Salpointe Catholic (23-6) at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.