Mountain Pointe HS using home runs to power a title run

The scoring machine rolls on.

And over other high school baseball teams.

The Mountain Pointe Pride has plenty of reasons to be proud this season, as it has cranked up its home run machine again this year to take a run at the 5A state championship that eluded the Phoenix school last year.

Mountain Pointe made a major statement with Tuesday’s 12-5 win over Mesa’s Desert Ridge High School, adding five more home runs to its tally this season and breaking the record it set last year.

Joey Curletta had three round-trips all by himself in the 5A-I East Valley Region game, while Scott Kingery contributed two more.

And neither is even the team’s top power hitter.  That would be Kevin Cron, Arizona’s all-time career leader in home runs at the high school level.  The 6’4″, 250-pound senior tied the record of 22 homers in a season last year and then broke it in a March 25 game against Westwood High this season.

But the home run derby at Mountain Pointe is a team effort, with Cron and his teammates collecting 63 so far this year to break the record of 60 they set last year.  The Pride is averaging nearly 12 runs per game.

Their 3-2 win over Gilbert High School prior to the Desert Ridge game was the fewest points scored by The Pride in a game this season.  But even in that game, they got all their scoring off of home runs, including a solo shot by Jordan Kipper and a two-run blast by Brantley Bell.

If you’re counting, that’s five different players mentioned so far that have contributed home runs to The Pride’s 18-4 overall record (6-1 Region).

But if they encounter a weaker team, the onslaught can be merciless.  Prior to the squeeker they won with Gilbert, The Pride pounded out a 20-6 victory over Casa Grand High School.  Each batter in the line-up contributed at least one hit, while eight of the nine had multiple hits.

Cron, who has committed to play for Texas Christian next year, led the home-run parade against the Cougars by showing his power to all fields.  He parked a two-run blast over the center field fence and then hit a solo to right field four innings later.

And, yes, he wasn’t the only one hitting them out of the park at Casa Grand High.  Both Kipper and Curletta added two-run homers to help run up the score.

Despite the win over Desert Ridge, Mountain Pointe is still chasing them in the AIA power point rankings, with the Ridge in the No. 1 spot and The Pride nipping at their heels in second place.  Desert Ridge has 59.41 points and Mountain Pointe has accumulated 59.06.

It doesn’t get much tighter than that.

Last week, the two teams weren’t even at the top of the 5A-I polls, put out by the local media.  The Arizona Republic had Desert Ridge in the No. 3 slot behind Mesquite High School in Gilbert and Hamilton High School in Chandler.  The East Valley Tribune had them in the same slots, but the order was reversed, with Mountain Pointe in third.

Mountain Pointe is on a course to finish the business of winning a state title that they started last year.  Desert Ridge beat The Pride in the state championship game by embarrassing their East Valley rival, 11-4.

This year, the stage may be set for an opportunity for The Pride to avenge that loss.  If that happens, the potential fireworks display at the plate alone would be worth the cost of admission.