Gila Bend took extra hitting practice this week because coach Donny Young figured if the offense took care of business, he had enough pitching.
Unbeaten Gila Bend came out hitting on all cylinders and defeated Glendale Desert Heights Prep 12-2 in five innings to capture the Canyon Athletic Association Division I final at windswept Maryvale Baseball Park.
Saul Munguia set the tone for Gila Bend (16-0) at the top of the lineup and on the mound. Munguia no-hit Desert Heights for four innings, striking out eight.
He tired in the fifth, but by that time he had scored more runs (three) than he would allow as Gila Bend won its first state title since 2010.
“We mainly focused on hitting this week because I knew we would be OK on the mound,” said Young, who returned to the Gila Bend dugout this season after a four-year hiatus to follow his sons in college. “We are three, four pitchers deep. Saul was great, but he was a little gassed in the fifth. But he is a senior, so I wanted to give him a chance to finish.”
Munguia scored four runs from his leadoff spot, including the final one that ended the game in the fifth inning by the run rule. He reached on a three-base error and scored on Austin Burkhardt’s base hit through the drawn-in infield.
Patrick Villegas wielded the hottest Gila Bend bat, going 3 for 3 with four RBIs and three runs. He had RBI hits in each of the first three innings as Gila Bend forged an 11-0 lead.
Despite being no-hit for four innings, Desert Heights Prep (11-4) had three baserunners in the first two innings on two hit batters and a walk.
Desert Heights scored its runs in the fifth. Jared Mason broke up the no-hitter with a line single to right. Jacob Eversole had an RBI double to left and Derek Macklin delivered the second run with a groundout.
“If we score a few runs in the first two innings, it’s a different game,” first-year coach Eric Schwandt said. “We had some costly errors in the outfield. Overall, I am happy with the season. We didn’t even make the playoffs last year.”
Gila Bend finished with 12 hits and was aided by three Desert Heights errors. It was the second time Gila Bend beat Desert Heights, winning 13-1 during a final five game-stretch in which it outscored its opponents 66-8.
Maricopa Sequoia Pathway Academy 11, Phoenix South Pointe 9
Unlike the opening act, there was nothing pitcher perfect about the encore.
Maricopa Sequoia Pathway Academy, which was shut out the first time the teams met, was blanked in only two innings Saturday as it defeated Phoenix South Pointe 11-9 in the Canyon Athletic Association Division II final at windswept Maryvale Baseball Park.
The first meeting was a pitcher’s duel in which South Pointe and Jose Castro edged Sequoia Pathway Academy 1-0. Castro didn’t start Saturday, but he was summoned early in a game in which neither pitcher made it through the second inning.
“He beat us with his curve (the first time),” Pathway coach Joe Klepfer said. “We worked on hitting the curve in practice. We were ready and played small ball and were able to be successful.”
In a wild game that featured 21 hits and eight errors, it ended on the only double play of the night when center fielder Charlie Cancelleri made a catch and threw to first base.
“Too many errors,” South Pointe coach Mike Acquisto said. “We make one less (the team had five) and we have a chance to win.”
The biggest heroes were Pathway’s biggest players – 6-foot-4, 240-pound Ryan Jackovich, who had two triples, a double and three RBIs to capture Most Valuable Player honors, and 6-3, 290-pound Trevor Nevius, who took over in relief to gain the win.
Pathway scored in each of the four innings as it forged a 9-4 lead. After South Pointe put up four in the fifth to close within 9-8, Jackovich’s second triple and Rileigh Simon’s sacrifice fly provided Pathway with its final two runs in the sixth.