Queen Creek continued its hot streak Thursday night by adding an invitational tournament title to its winnings this season. Its winnings to date total 14 victories and zero losses.
In a bit a of see-saw battle with 5A and region rival Campo Verde, the Bulldogs hung on late to edge the Coyotes, 8-7, and claim the title of the 2nd annual Bob Everett Baseball Classic at Highland High School.
Both teams were 5-0 in the tournament heading to the title game. They reached the final with wins run-rule wins over Mesa High (Queen Creek) and Mountain View (Campo Verde).
Queen Creek coach Mikel Moreno finally got the chance to coach this season after he ws called up as an Army reservist and deployed to Kosovo through last November. Moreno, a standout prep athlete at Mesa High in the early 1990s and at ASU in baseball later in the decade, is liking what he's seen
Assistant Kevin Honea kept his seat warm last season as Queen Creek posted a .500 record in Division I where it lost in the first round of state to eventual champion Hamilton.
Moreno watched his team add a couple of tack-on runs in the sixth inning that proved vital, extending a 6-3 lead to 8-3 at the the time via a walk, stolen base, single and two passed balls.
That's because Campo Verde tallied four times in the bottom of the sixth off winning pitcher Danny Marshall and Stenson Denning. Camden Vasquez's two-run triple and a throwing error on the relay to third quickly got the score to 8-6 with no out in the frame. Brayden Campbell's third hit a couple batters late made it 8-7. Only a 1-6-3 double play possibly saved Queen Creek from giving up the lead.
Queen Creek's fourth pitcher of the game, Toren Craig, got the call to close the game in the bottom of the seventh. With a delivery similar to that of Brad Ziegler, Craig struggled with the strike zone with his first hitter, but managed to coax a soft comebacker from Billy Fiore. Craig nearly overthrew his first baseman with a casual throw, but the out was recorded. After that, Craig was fine. He fanned the next two hitters to end it.
Colton Cassinelli and Haiden Hendricks combined for three hits each and two RBI apiece.Vasquez was 2-for-2 with three RBI for Campo Verde hitting in the No. 9 hole.