Brit Fitzgerald’s RBI double and Alex Murietta’s run-scoring single stretched Mesquite’s lead to 5-0 in the fourth inning, and the No. 2 seed held on to defeat Glendale Mountain Ridge 5-3 at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Thursday to advance to the Division I state baseball championship.
“We just began to see holes and we were hitting to them,” said Fitzgerald. “I think because we started hitting them early they fell back a bit. But then we did, too, at the end. But we held on.”
Josh Webster got Mesquite going in the third inning with his single, which was followed by Noah Cordova’s triple that gave Mesquite a 1-0 lead. Tyler Jorgensen’s triple scored Cordova to make it 2-0. Fitzgerald then reached on an error, allowing Jorgensen to score for a 3-0 advantage.
“I think the back-to-back triples really sent them back and kept them down until the seventh inning,” Jorgensen said. “I think that it took the rest of the game for them to get it back after that inning.”
RBI hits by FItzgerald and Murietta seemingly put the game away at 5-0.
But Mountain Ridge wasn’t done.
In the top of the seventh inning, Cameron Cannon reached on an error, and Harry Gard was hit by a pitch. Mitchell Sullivan then doubled home both, cutting the deficit to 5-2.
Tristan Thomas singled to score Sullivan, making it 5-3 with one out. But Joe Rankin and Devin Ray flew out to end the game.
In another Division I game, Nick Hamilton’s RBI single in the top of the first inning scored Tyler Wyatt for the game winner as Liberty (29-5) upset No. 1 seed Hamilton 2-1 at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
It was Hamilton pitcher Zach Peterson’s first loss of the season against 20 wins. Drew Haskin (6-0) got the win after pitching into the sixth inning, and Tyler Wyatt finished up to earn the save.
Liberty will play Mountain Ridge on Saturday with the winner advancing to face Mesquite.
Canyon del Oro is heading back to the state final.
The No. 3 Dorados registered 13 hits and used a huge fifth inning on Thursday night to take down top-seeded Tucson High 8-5 at High Corbett Field in the state semifinals and advance to their first championship game since 2009.
“It means everything,” said senior Nick Ames, who hit a key two-run double in the fifth inning. “We’re ready to go, we’ve been waiting our whole lives for this – four year and now it’s here.”
CDO will either see the Badgers again in Tuesday’s state final or could face second-seeded Salpointe Catholic, which beat No. 5 Sunnyside 6-3 in the first game of Thursday’s postseason doubleheader. The Dorados reached Thursday’s semifinal game with a 16-15 win against Salpointe last week.
The Arizona Daily Star contributed to this report.
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