Spencer Molnar
ASU Student Journalist

Baseball playoffs: Mountain View tops rival Red Mountain

May 4, 2018 by Spencer Molnar, Arizona State University

The Mountain View Toros survived and advanced by defeating the Red Mountain Lions 3-2 in Friday afternoon's baseball playoff game at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

It was win or go home for the two rival teams in 6A. The Lions came in ranked sixth in the state with a 19-11 record. On the other side of the diamond, the Toros headed into Tempe Diablo Stadium ranked No. 1 in the state with a 23-7 record.

It was a neck-and-neck battle with both pitchers dueling. It wasn’t until the third inning when the Toros capitalized on a two-out rally. Outfielder Sean Rimmer had the go-ahead RBI single scoring two runs after an errant throw to third.

“I felt good facing one of the best pitchers in the state,” Rimmer said. “With runners in scoring position, I knew I had to get the ball in play, and I did.”

Following Rimmer’s two-out RBI, third baseman Joe Georgini capped off the third inning with an RBI single, scoring Rimmer to put the Toros up 3-0.

The Red Mountian Lions bounced back late, scoring two runs off senior pitcher John Neeley in the seventh.  Andrew Hayes led off the seventh with a home run to left field, pulling the Lions within two.

Though the Lions battled back, the strong right hander Neeley finished the game.

Neeley had himself an outing on the mound. He threw 99 pitches and held the Lions to a .250 batting average. With all the pressure on him in the seventh, Neeley closed out the game striking out the last Lions batter while holding the tying run on third.

“He had to hold down a very good hitting team,” Coach Mike Thiel said. “He’s a senior that has pitched a lot, and we felt like we had the utmost confidence in him on the mound today.”

Neeley pitched a complete game, giving up seven hits and only one earned run.

“I hung a few pitches out there today, but I knew I had to keep my composure and keep grinding to get those outs,” Neeley said.

It wasn’t all Neeley though. The Mountain View defense held their own Friday afternoon.

“I have to thank my defense out there today. They really had my back all afternoon,” Neeley said.

The Red Mountain Lions finished their season with a 19-12 record and an 8-2 sectional record.

The top-ranked Toros are looking ahead to next week, where they will face Hamilton or Mountain Ridge.