It may be a cliché but Courtney Hiroku really did pick a great time to hit the first home run of her career.
A really great time.
Hiroku's shot over the center field fence leading off the sixth broke a 6-6 tie and Basha got a little revenge on Saturday in beating three-time state champion Red Mountain 10-6 in the Lion Country Classic.
"At first I didn't know it was a home run," Hiruko said. "Then I saw it go over the fence and it was great because it was Red Mountain. I never hit one before so I didn't know (how it felt)."
Red Mountain has beaten Basha in the state championship game the last two years and won titles for three years straight. Basha won the previous two titles at the state's highest classification.
"It's a rivalry but for the last few games it's been one-sided," Basha coach Scott Hoffmeyer said. "So we talked a lot about trying to put that back (behind us)."
Red Mountain coach Rich Hamilton agreed, saying it didn't matter that this was just the third day of the season and the most important games are nearly three months away.
"You never want to lose," he said. "We play to be perfect, we strive to be perfect and we weren't perfect today. But I'm really proud of the group because they kept coming back and we have done that all tournament long."
The Bears (6-1) led the title game of the season-opening tournament 6-1 but the hosts rallied with three runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth.
"We'll keep this in the back of our head and keep getting better as a team," Hiruko said.
In the sixth, after Hiruko's heroics, Kylie Shull doubled in a run with a bloop to center and Hailee Siroky followed with a two-run shot to center for the four-run lead.
"I've been hitting real good this weekend," Siroky said. "Getting this was really good for us."
Kelsey Tidwell allowed just a hit over the final two innings to secure the win, getting a key strikeout to end the sixth and Shull throwing out a runner at first in the seventh.
Basha got four hits in the third to score six runs and take the big lead. Brooke Breland had a two-run home run and Hailey Maher had a two-run double for the big hits.
But in the fourth, Ashley Hill singled in a run for Red Mountain (6-1) and Kenzy Gutierrez followed with a two-run double against the left-field fence to cut the lead to 6-4. In the fifth, the Lions scored twice with two outs, stringing together a walk, a triple by Alyssa Fernandez and a single by reliever Breanna Macha.
Gutierrez had three hits to lead the Lions.
Red Mountain swept its four round-robin games on Thursday and Friday, including an 8-7 win on the first day over Basha. The Lions then beat Tucson Salpointe and Perry to reach the final. Basha went 3-1 the first two days and beat Gilbert and Mountain Pointe in the knockout round on Saturday.
The tourney was shrunk into a three-day affair after Wednesday's scheduled opening day was washed out by rain.
Basha 10, Red Mountain 6
Basha 006 004 0 - 10 9 5
Red Mtn. 100 320 0 - 6 10 1
Klemmendson, Tidwell (6) and Siroky, Shull (7); Ruf, Macha (3) and Beck.
Basha: Siroky 2-4, HR, 3 RBI; Hiroku 2-4, HR; Maher 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Shull 1-3, 2B, RBI; Medina 1-4, 2B, RBI; Brooke Breland 1-4, HR, 2 RBI.
Red Mountain: Gutierrez 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Fernandez 2-5, 3B, RBI; Macha 2-3, RBI; Hill 2-4, 2 RBI.