ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Colton Zebe: The Gilbert Highland senior third baseman went 4-for-8 with a home run, four RBIs, four runs scored and three stolen bases. He was also intentionally walked four times as the Hawks secured a pair of Fiesta Region wins. Highland is in first place in the region. Thus far this week Zebe is 3-for-7 with three RBIs, including a game-winning hit and relief win. Zebe entered the week batting .484 with six homers and 24 RBIs.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
Tempe Marcos de Niza will play the rest of the season without one of its top players and pitchers, Jacob Morales. Morales is no longer on the squad for disciplinary reasons according to coach Felipe Becerra. Morales entered his final week with the Padres with a 2-0 record and 1.40 earned run average and was batting better than .500. Morales had a tough outing in his final pitching appearance against Scottsdale Horizon, giving up seven runs and nine hits in four innings. The Padres, the defending 5A-II champs, are 0-2 in their new region with losses to Horizon and Mesa Skyline.
WHO'S HOT AND WHO'S NOT
Phoenix Pinnacle has the best winning streak going at present with six straight wins. Mesa Mountain View (five), Mesa Red Mountain and Gilbert Highland (four) and Mesa Skyline (three). On the skids is Chandler with four consecutive losses.
Mountain View third baseman Daniel Forrest is a regular but averages less than two at-bats per game. The reason is all the walks and hit by pitches he’s piled up. Forrest has a .600 on-base percentage (27-45) thanks to 15 walks and/or hit by pitch. He’s hitting .400 (12-for-30)... Two local 5A pitchers have six wins, Mesa Desert Ridge’s Jake Barrett (6-1) and Mountain View’s Matt Shannon (6-0)... Mesa High’s victory Monday over Phoenix Carl Hayden was the Jackrabbits’ eighth win of the season with another eight to go. Mesa is 8-12 this season. Last year Mesa finished 7-21.
Top games on today’s schedule in 5A are East Valley Region rivals Red Mountain at Westwood; Scottsdale Horizon at Pinnacle (Pima) and Highland at Chandler (Fiesta). In 4A, a nonregion game has Scottsdale Chaparral visiting Scottsdale Notre Dame at 7 p.m. Both are title contenders in 4A-I and 4A-II, respectively, and both own the Tribune’s top rankings.