Baseball: Corona, Novis shut down Desert Vista

April 13, 2018 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

Corona's Matt Novis works early vs. Desert Vista en route to shutout win. (AzPreps365 photo)

Corona del Sol coach Dave Webb had no qualms sending out Matt Novis for the second time in less than 10 days to face 6A Central Region rival Desert Vista.

And why not. On April 6, Novis threw six strong innings and fanned 12 in a 3-2 vicory at Chase Field. On Friday afternoon, Novis was just as good, maybe better. The senior right-hander fired a two-hit shutout as the Aztecs defeated Desert Vista, 4-0, at Corona del Sol. The win was Corona's ninth in a row for a team senior-dominated last year that transitioned to a lineup Friday with only two seniors in it.

"You know the Dodgers arren't going to skip (Clayton) Kershaw to miss a team," Webb analogized. "Matt's pitched very well. He's been really good all year long. He wants the ball, and he's confident. He has a D-I arm."

Novis didn't strike out as many in his encore performance - just 10 Ks. But he allowed only two singles, no walks and went the distance. The victory boosts Corona's overall record to 19-4, 12-3 in power-ranking games. The Aztecs are #3 in the  6A power rankings and 7-0 in region.

One more victory - its next chance is Tuesday against Mountain Pointe - would clinch the region crown. Desert Vista (18-7, 11-4 prg) is 5-2 in region and the next closest team.  Corona via its sweep in region play holds the tiebreaker should it occur. Desert Vista entered the game at sixth in the power rankiings.

Desert Vista sent out a very good pitcher as well in junior lefty Eli Ankeney. Ankeney had a rough start and did settle in after that. But Novis was outstanding so the first four batters of the game for Corona did all that was needed to produce a win. 

Corona banged out four consecutive hits in the bottom of the first for a 2-0 advantage. Leadoff hitter Cade Verdusco (3 for 4) doubled to right, stole third and came home on a throwing error. Wyatt Berry and Novis followed with singles and No. 4 hitter Hunter Haas doubled to score Berry. Ankeney, who scattered six more hits over the next five innings and the last two runs, pitched out of the inning helped by two of his eight strikeouts. Ankeney also didn't walk a batter.

'Novis stays down in the zone, and had good velocity on his fastball," Desert Vista coach Cody Brassfield said. "He also has a good secondary pitch and we had trouble with him again. We'll go home and work on making improvements."

Corona added single runs in the fifth and sixth to give Novis more cushion. Haas singled and stole second in the fifth and scored on Bryan Webb's single to right. In the sixth, Matteo Baker doubled and eventually scored on Berry's ground out to short. Bryan Webb was 2 for 2 and reached on a hit by pitch.