Baseball: Horizon continues to dominate
March 6, 2017 by Perry Cohen, Arizona State University
The Desert Mountain baseball team has struggled this season with allowing a high number of early-inning runs.
Head coach John Casey said his team’s lack of preparation is to blame for their woes.
“We keep falling behind four, five, six runs in the first two innings,” he said.
Desert Mountain’s 7-4 home loss to the undefeated Horizon Huskies Saturday marked the third time this season it has allowed at least four runs in the first two innings.
“Their pregame focus and stretches need to be on point,” Casey said. “There needs to be no chitchatting and more focusing on the task at hand.”
All four of the Wolves’ runs came in a seventh inning rally.
The win for Horizon extends its opening-season win streak to eight games.
Starting pitcher Joel Thomas was lights out during his six inning outing, allowing only two hits without giving up a run.
“My changeup was on point today, and I was locating my fastball pretty well,” Thomas said. “I knew I had to throw strikes and let my defense do the work.”
Wednesday’s game was Thomas’ second appearance of the season.
Head coach Eric Kibler said Thomas pitched exceptionally in both.
“Joel had all three pitches working today,” Kibler said. “He was outstanding and very efficient today.”
Sophomore Paul Sachen of Desert Mountain recorded all three of his team's hits, two of which were the only hits allowed by Thomas.
“I just did what I normally do,” Sachen said. “I noticed he (Thomas) was throwing a lot of first pitch strikes so my second at-bat I was looking first-pitch and hit it back up the middle.”
In addition to a stellar pitching performance, Horizon’s offense was a consistent threat.
The offense was led by senior outfielder Casey O’Malley and sophomore catcher Kody Huff. Five of the seven runs came in the first two innings alone.
O’Malley led the Huskies with three hits, one of which was a two-out, two-RBI double in the second inning.
Huff had three hits of his own and was just a triple shy of the cycle. Huff hit his home run in the fifth inning off of Desert Mountain reliever Hayden Nierman.
“I got a 2-2 fastball up in the zone,” Huff said. “I saw it good, waited back and barreled it up.”
Kibler said he is blessed to have such a fun and hardworking team.
“This team really cares about each other,” Kibler said. “They practice with a lot of intent and purpose.”
Horizon’s win was the first of three guaranteed games in the Horizon Invitational.
The Huskies look to extend their win-streak to nine games March 9 at Mountain Ridge.