D-II BASEBALL PLAYOFFS: Ironwood Ridge advances with 5-3 win over MTN VIEW

April 30, 2016 by Andy Morales, AZPreps365

Nick Estrella picked up the win.
(Andy Morales/AZPreps365.com)

Baseball is a game of second chances. You might get lucky and have a third or even a fourth chance at redemption but you will always get that second shot. With regular season losses to both Mountain View and Sunnyside, the Nighthawks are calling the first two rounds of the Division II state playoffs, “The Road to Redemption.”

That road, like a lot of roads, was filled with pot holes, detours and bumps on Saturday but No. 10 Ironwood Ridge (19-7-2) came back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat No. 23 Mountain View 5-3 to advance to the second round of the Division II playoffs where the team will face No. 7 Sunnyside (18-9).

Cody Treatch took the mound for Mountain View (13-15) and Christian Pearcy led Ironwood Ridge. Treatch was coming off of a 100-plus pitching performance against Buena on Tuesday. That 2-1 win over Buena helped stop a two-game skid that almost saw the Mountain Lions missing the state playoffs. He was sore and had the usual blister on his finger but there were no excuses, Treatch still held the Nighthawks in check until their bats started to come alive in the bottom of the fourth.

On the other side, Pearcy faced the vaunted Canyon del Oro lineup on Tuesday yet he was back on the mound on Saturday and he limited Mountain View to three runs, waiting for hitting support. It came.

Ironwood Ridge took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first after Jacob Allen drew a leadoff walk and he scored on a wild pitch later in the inning. A double play in the second inning kept Ironwood Ridge off the scoreboard and the Nighthawks left the bases loaded in the third with only one out.

Meanwhile, Mountain View tied things up in the top of the second after Roberto Morales (no relation) was knocked in by Jeff Northcutt. Morales had reached on a hit-by-pitch.

Robbie Ryan doubled with one out in the top of the third and advanced to third on the play, putting the Mountain Lions back in business. Trevor Smith reached on a fielder’s choice and Ryan scored on the play to put Mountain View up 2-1. Smith scored later in the inning on an RBI from Morales. It was Ryan’s second double of the game.

Down 3-1, the Nighthawks started to cash in on some of their baserunners and Derek Daly came through with a clutch hit to bring in two runs to tie the game up at 3-3.

Denin Parson replaced Treatch after Daly’s hit and Nick Estrella took over for Ironwood Ridge in the same inning.

Estrella shut down 12 of the last 14 batters he faced to keep Mountain View off the scoreboard and Adam Mays came up with the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the fifth, bringing in Jared McKemy with two outs.

Estrella doubled in Daly in the bottom of the sixth to end the scoring.

Mays went 3-3 with the game-winning RBI. He overcame some early issues behind the plate to take advantage of his second chance.

“We were just trying to get the ball in play early but we weren’t having any fun with it,” Mays explained. “I felt I owed my teammates that last hit. I’m glad I came through for my team.”

Ironwood Ridge is a hitting team. Daly holds the new Division II (4A) single season record for doubles with 22, Estrella has 11 home runs and Jake Engel has eight while the team is batting .395. Daly is batting an incredible .614.

Home runs? The Nighthawks have 28 which is second best in the nation. Still, Mountain View held tough.

The current Mountain View players experienced the playoffs for the first time and coming so close to advancing probably makes the loss sting bit more. Had they lost big, the loss might have been forgotten. That would have been a shame.

“We are a team of fighters,” second-year coach Steve Elmore said. “No matter what situation we are in or how much we are down by we trust each other. Being a bubble team means seeing things slip away after a loss only to have things come back after a win.

“Cody (Treatch) gave everything and he always gives his best,” Elmore added. “He was tired and he still gave us a chance.”