Skyline's Boyd Vanderkooi and Mountain View's Mason Krause pitched their teams to victory on Tuesday night with shutout efforts as Mesa district schools opened their annual month of games at HoHoKam Park.
Vanderkooi went the distance as Skyline blanked Mesa High, 9-0, in the 4 p.m game at the spring training home of the Oakland A's. Krause's margin for error was as thin as it gets as the Toros pushed across a run in the bottom of the seventh in a 1-0 triumph over Brown Road rival Red Mountain.
Skyline (15-5-1, 9-2 power-ranking games) is the leader of the six Mesa schools in the power rankings by far. Coach Pat Herrera's club entered the day No. 2 in the 6A rankings and won its 10th game in a row. Mesa (10-8, 5-5 prg), Red Mountain (10-11, 4-7 prg) and Mountain View (10-10, 4-6 prg) face an uphill battle to reach postseason as 16 teams qualify for the state tournament that begins April 29.
Vanderkooi, a senior, pushed his season record to 5-0 with a four-hitter and struck out 10. His teammates busted open a 2-0 contest in the fourth with two runs and added five more in the fifth making for an easy finish for the tall, right-hander.
Skyline pounded out 13 hits against three Mesa pitchers to back Vanderkooi. Leadoff hitter Austin Herrera led the hit parade wtih three singles and two RBI. Bobby Meza, Tyler Jackson and Josh Gonzales checked in with two hits each. Six different players drove in at least one run for Skyline.
Mountain View's victory provided the only drama of the night as Red Mountain's Marcus Christy and Krause matched zeroes to the last of the seventh. Krause allowed four hits, walked three and fanned five. Christy surrendered five hits, walked two and struck out five.
The game seemed certain to go to extra innings as Christy retired the first two Mountain View hitters in the bottom of the seventh. But Erick Bahn blooped a double to center and Isaac McNaughton drew a walk on a 3-2 count that Red Mountain faithful thought should have ended in a strikeout before 3-2.
Mountain View coach Mike Thiel called on pinch hitter Joe Georgini and the junior responded with a sharp single to left past diving shortstop Austin Duffy, Left fielder Randy Hutson charged the ball and had his sights set on throwing out Bahn at the plate. Huston bobbled the ball and ultimately never gained control to make a throw. Bahn crossed the plate with Toro teammates mobbing him there.