Winning the Desert Valley Region is going to require a few more victories for either Scottsdale Desert Mountain or Phoenix Brophy after the Broncos’ 12-7 victory over the Wolves on Tuesday.
But it’s not an afterthought for these teams. Both sides — which are constant 5A Division I state contenders — are talking about winning a region title.
Desert Mountain took the first of three between these clubs last week, so this Brophy win sets up next Tuesday’s regular-season finale between these programs in the Power Points’ top five.
“You want to keep yourself into this (regular season),” Brophy coach Tom Succow said. “The tournament may be 1½ weeks away, but it doesn’t seem like it.”
This was a big one for Brophy (17-7, 5-1), which pulled into a tie with the previously unbeaten Wolves instead of falling two games behind. It also partially negated last Friday’s pitching dominance by Desert Mountain and presented two teams on equal planes.
Behind a stiff wind and the Wolves’ friendly confines, both teams put up piles of hits. Brandon Bayardi hit two home runs for Brophy, while Skylar Helmbeck did the same for Desert Mountain.
The Broncos took a 7-1 lead by hitting blisters, bloops and bleeders. In addition to Bayardi’s three-run blast in the first inning, Trent Stevenson hit a two-run single in the second, Cullen Mahoney had an RBI double in the third and Bayardi connected again in the fourth.
Desert Mountain responded with a homer from Lance Harper and Helmbeck’s second home run, a three-run shot in the fourth that forged a 7-7 tie.
The Wolves (18-8, 5-1) tried to take the lead on a double steal, but the play fell apart and Kyle Smith was tagged out a split-second before Taylor Lindsey crossed the plate.
Then, suddenly, small-ball broke out, as singles and walks led to two Brophy runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh. The Broncos nearly batted around both times, finishing with 17 hits despite leaving eight runners on base.
“We definitely want to win the region, it’s a big thing for us.” Bayardi said. “But we are trying to set ourselves up for the tournament.”
But the horse comes before the cart, so it’s going to take one more meeting to claim dominance in the Desert Valley this year.
“We both got one and we’ll play the third to decide who gets it,” Desert Mountain coach Bryan Rice said. “You’re going to lose games, but you can’t worry about it. We know what it takes to win.”