A team excelling on the mound vs. one struggling to score runs. Those early reputations did not change on Friday night for Pinnacle and Red Mountain, respectively.
Pinnacle traveled across the Valley and used a two-out, RBI single from designated hitter Eddie Niemann to trim Red Mountain, 4-3, in nine innings in a 6A game under the lights at Red Mountain.
Pinnacle notched its eighth win in nine games as Mason Gray and Tyler Woessner combined to limit Red Mountain to three hits. Red Mountain scored all three of its runs one inning. Two walks and two errors were the impetus to the Mountain Lions' run total. Pinnacle outhit Red Mountain, 12-3. Pinnacle is 4-1 in power-ranking games. Red Mountain dropped to 4-6 overall and is 1-4 in power-ranking contests.
Pinnacle has five pitchers with at least one win thus far and the Pioneers staff has four shutouts in the first nine games. Pinnacle blanked Red Mountain over the final seven innings of Friday's contest.
The tough-luck losing pitcher in this one was Red Mountain's Conner Thurman. Thurman took over for starter Kai Murphy to begin the fourth inning after Murphy was tagged for three runs and four hits in the third allowing Pinnacle to tie the game at 3.
Thurman threw six innings of relief, allowing six hits, one run and striking out three. He issued only one walk, but that walk to CJ Schauwecker (2-for-4) came with two outs in the ninth and nobody on. Chad Sutton (2-for-4, )including a two-run double, singled after the walk. Niemann looped the first pitch from Thurman between first base and right field to plate the game winner. It was Niemann's third hit of the game.
Red Mountain didn't go quietly in its half of the ninth. Pinch hitter Andrew Hayes was hit by a pitch from reliever and winning pitcher Woessner (2-0). A sacrifice by Murphy moved the tying run to second. Another pinch hiter -- Marcus Christy - scratched out an infield hit giving the Mountain Lions runners at first and third. Woessner closed out the threat striking out Michael Jones and getting Sam Berry on a ground ball to third -- as Sutton made a nice stop and quick throw to nip Berry at first.
Pinnacle next plays in Horizon's National Invitational Tournament on Monday (March 13). The Pioneers play Edmonds Santa Fe, OK at 12:30 p.m. at Pinnacle. Red Mountain is participating in the Bob Everett Classic hosted by Mesquite, Highland and Campo Verde high schools. Red Mountain's first game is Monday (March 13) against Queen Creek at 10:30 a.m. at Mesquite HS.