There’s now a clear leader among the Division I baseball teams that reside in Section I. But not by much.
Basha High School broke a three-way tie this week by beating Corona del Sol High School, 6-4, and moving into a half-game lead in Section I. Perry High, the third team knotted at the top, is now tied for second with Hamilton High, which has rebounded from back-to-back losses in mid-March to win nine of its last 10 games after beating Desert Vista High, 13-2, last night.
Perry fell behind after a loss to Sandra Day O’Connor High School in a cross-sectional match-up on Thursday. O’Connor is sitting in first place in Section II and continues to be a dominant force in D-I play. The Eagles are 23-4 on the season and have lost just once in their last 21 outings.
O’Connor used three pitchers to keep the Perry batters in check. It was the final reliever to take the mound, Keegan McCarville, that squashed the final Perry rally after the Pumas put two runners on base in the seventh inning. But he had a big assist from Austin Wiskow. With two outs, Wiskow, playing at second base after taking the second shift on the mound, snagged a sizzling line drive that looked like it would make it over his head. Instead, it became the final out.
But it was right-hander Ryan Alexander who started the game and got the win. The senior worked five innings before turning it over to Wiskow, giving up six hits and two runs, but striking out seven.
Alexander has started seven games so far, and won all seven. O’Connor head coach Jeff Baumgartner is blessed with a seasoned mound staff this year; McCarville and Wiskow are also seniors.
Despite that, however, Perry was able to spread 12 hits throughout the game as the Pumas tried to dig out of the early hole.
Credit sophomore Nolan Gorman, O’Connor’s clean-up hitter, with getting his team off to a big start and giving them a lead they were able to hold. Gorman parked a three-runner homer over the center field fence in the first inning and finished the game with two hits in four at-bats.
Basha also used a big inning to get on top of Corona del Sol, but in this game it was the fourth inning. And Corona did all they could to help Basha to four runs by walking three Basha batters and hitting two more to keep loading the bases.
To that point, Corona was holding a 2-1 lead, with Basha’s only run coming on a solo homer by Michael Goodrich in the third inning. Basha went on to hold the lead and finish with the 6-4 win, and then added another win last night when the Bears beat Campo Verde High School, 8-7, to run their record to 19-4.
Jack Schneider was the winning pitcher against Corona. The senior lefty struck out six in the Aztec line-up, but he allowed eight hits in his five innings on the mound. Matt Novis collected three hits and an RBI for Basha.
Basha has lost just twice in the last 18 games and appear to be in a good position as the season winds down to the state tournament that begins in exactly two weeks.