Coach Mike Masciangelo spent some of the off-season updating Mesa High’s baseball records.
He discovered so many players who left lasting impressions in Jackrabbits folklore at one of the oldest public schools in the state.
The last time Mesa won a state championship was 1959. It was the school’s third in a row and sixth total.
Masciangelo helped azcentral sports fill out a lineup card that would be tough for any all-time Arizona high school team to stop.
I started doing these last high school baseball season. There are so many great programs that deserve their own all-time lineup cards.
No. 1 Mikel Moreno, CF, 1994
Moreno was a magician on the football field, leading the Jackrabbits to a state championship as a sophomore mobile quarterback. He also was as a good a defensive outfielder as there was in his era with a big bat. He hit .467 and a school-record 10 home runs his senior year. His 42 stolen bases are a career record. He went on to play and coach at Arizona State. Moreno now is head coach of an unbeaten Queen Creek baseball team.
No. 2 Mickey Hatcher, LF, 1974
Twenty years before Moreno, Hatcher set the school record for batting average in a season at .516. It now ranks as fourth-best. Hatcher, ranked among the 10 greatest football players in Mesa High history as a wide receiver, wound up with a nice football and baseball career at Oklahoma State. He also had a steady major league baseball career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, before going into coaching.
No. 3 Brock Hale, 2B, 2013
Hale tied a season school batting average record just four years ago, hitting .529. That year, he set the school record for slugging percentage at 1.011. He had 46 hits and nine home runs, jump starting a college career at BYU.
No. 4 Grady Benton, 1B, 1991
Benton was the quarterback of Mesa’s 1990 state football championship team. He was an even better baseball player, hitting .529 as a senior. Benton holds the career record at Mesa with a .461 batting average.
No. 5 Jack Lind, SS, 1964
Slick fielding shortstop who had a brief major league baseball career with the Milwaukee Brewers in the mid-1970s. He found more success as a baseball coach. He was an assistant at Arizona State in the early 1980s, and had a four-year stint in the late as third base coach of the Pittsburgh Pirate. Trivia: He is the father of Jimmy Eat World drummer Zach Lind.
No. 6 Jim Richardson, RF, 1987
He was as good a position player as he was a pitcher, a hard-throwing left-hander, who swung a big bat. He hit .450 in 1987 when he had 41 hits. He hit five home runs as a junior. He still holds the school record for most strikeouts in a game with 17 as a junior in 1986. He struck out 145 batters in 1987. That still stands as a season school record.
No. 7 Ryan Richardson, C, 2000
He had 40 hits and hit .430 his junior season. That year he set a school record for RBIs in a season with 41. That still stands. A four-year varsity player, his 133 career hits, 37 career doubles and 100 career RBIs are school records.
No. 8 Jeremy Accardo, 3B, 2000
Accardo was a top shortstop with great defensive and offensive skills. He had 45 hits, 14 of those doubles, in one season. He had a .370 career batting average. But Accardo’s success after high school came on the mound, landing himself on major league rosters as a closer.
No. 9 Phil Ortega, P, 1958
It’s hard to come up with a starter from a school that has had so many talented pitchers, some of whom make it to the big leagues. Owens made his major league debut with the Dodgers in 1960 as a 20-year-old, signing a $60,000 bonus. A big strikeout pitcher in high school, the right-hander pitched through the ‘60s in the majors.
SUPER 10: Arizona high school baseball rankings
Mike MacDougal, 1996
The right-hander had a streak of 22 consecutive scoreless innings pitched in ’96. He pitched on five major league teams, making his debut with the Cleveland Indians in 2001. He had a career 71 saves.
Rudy Owens, 2006
This 6-foot-3 lefty was drafted by the Pirates out of high school but took the junior college route before going pro.