The McClintock High School baseball team came into this season with the mindset that they were one of the better teams in the 5A Conference.
After a 7-1 win over Tempe High in their home opener, the Chargers continued to state their case Wednesday afternoon at Glendale. The Chargers beat the Glendale Cardinals by mercy-rule, 18-0, in five innings.
Eleven of the 12 players that batted for McClintock scored at least one run in the blowout.
“They (Chargers) want to win,” Mather said. “We work hard. We’ve been working hard since fall.”
Pitcher Pete Lopez shined for McClintock, allowing just four hits in five innings.
He said focusing on his mechanics and locating the ball allowed him to shut down the opposition.
Lopez also dominated on the opposite side of the ball. He went 3 for 4 with a home run in the fifth inning and four runs batted in.
Lopez’s home run came on a 0-1 count with runners on base.
“I was looking for an off-speed pitch,” Lopez said. “He came with another fastball right in my wheelhouse. I was able to catch up and get in front of it.”
Mather said his pitchers are the team's best athletes, a statement that isn’t made often in baseball.
Lopez wasn’t McClintock’s only threat at the plate, however. Coming off the bench, Casey Patterson, a senior outfielder, contributed two hits of his own, including a triple.
“I’m fine being a role player,” Patterson said. “I still get my job done. That’s what it’s about.”
Patterson also drove in three and scored three times.
Mather said his seniors are the backbone of the team.
“It’s so rewarding to coach seniors like this,” he said.
Glendale coach Nestor Felix said he knew the game would be a challenge for his team.
“We knew what they had, but we were at a disadvantage,” Felix said. “It was our first game of the year and we had some first game jitters. It’s no fun facing a really good team for your first game.”
Despite the loss, Glendale did show signs of competitiveness.
Senior Carlos Mendez tagged Lopez for two of Lopez’s four allowed hits. Additionally, freshman Armando Cardenas made his first career start at shortstop.
“When a freshman contributes and plays shortstop, the future looks good.” Felix said.
The Cardinals’ coaching staff was able to draw some positives.
“We got to see some players in game situations, which we hadn’t before,” Felix said. “It’s just one game. It is a long season ahead of us and we’ll use this game as a learning experience.”
McClintock’s next game is Feb. 3. Junior Jonah Wiley is scheduled to start on the mound.
Cohen is covering McClintock High School this semester for azpreps365.com.