Pinnacle mercy-rules defending state champ Chaparral for second time this season

Pinnacle mercy-rules defending state champ Chaparral for second time this season

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Pinnacle mercy-rules defending state champ Chaparral for second time this season

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Whenever Phoenix Pinnacle would allow a baserunner it shouldn’t have – like on a walk, or an error or a hit-by-pitch, a Scottsdale Chaparral coach in the visiting dugout would implore his team to “make it hurt.”

Chaparral proved toothless, but Pinnacle senior M.J. Hubbs wasn’t, put a hurting of his own on the defending state champs by going 3 of 4 with a grand slam and 6 RBIs in a 12-2, five-inning Pinnacle win.

It was the second time this season Pinnacle (16-10) has run-ruled Chaparral (12-10). Pinnacle has now won seven of its last eight against in-state competition after beginning the season 5-6.

“I don’t think you ever finish ironing out anything,” Pinnacle coach John Casey said. “It’s constant work and a constant battle to keep ironing all the wrinkles out. Yes, we’re further along than we were earlier in the season, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”

Pinnacle led 5-0 through two innings, victimizing Chaparral starter Michael Diamond for six hits and taking advantage of one Chaparral error. But Chaparral answered with a pair of runs in the top of the third, and when Pinnacle went down in order in the bottom of the frame, it seemed as if the game would at least go the distance.

Diamond got leadoff batter Connor Shelby to ground out to start the bottom of the fourth, but then walked Tyler Townsley. Parker Manahan was almost out on a near-spectacular catch in right, but the ball popped out of Colter Kilgour’s glove as he hit the ground after a head-first dive.

Diamond fielded a comebacker hit by Alec Friedman in the next at-bat, but mishandled the throw to start what would have been an inning-ending double play. Instead, the bases were loaded for Hubbs, who smacked the ball over the fence in left to put Pinnacle up 9-2.

“Make it hurt on them,” Hubbs said.

Pinnacle added three more runs in the fifth to end the game. Manahan, Townsley and Sam Welton each collected two hits for Pinnacle, which tallied 15 total hits. Pinnacle senior Judson Stoddard allowed two hits and two runs (one earned) in five innings of work.

Andrew Shaps had one of those two hits for Chaparral, a double to start the third inning.

With the win, Pinnacle solidified its hold on a first-round playoff bye, while Chaparral teetered towards the edge of losing one. The top eight teams in the Arizona Interscholastic Association power rankings get a pass for the first round. Pinnacle entered the game ranked fourth in Division I, and Chaparral was seventh.

“You’re able to save some pitching,” Chaparral coach Sam Messina said. “You want to be in that top eight. That just puts you in a better situation.”

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