Sooner or later, the bats were going to burst.
Corona del Sol did what it could. The Aztecs hung around and kept it close, made a comeback or two and took a couple brief leads.
But Basha can hit, and the No. 3-seeded Bears broke the proverbial back of feisty No. 15 seed Corona in the fifth inning.
Basha set up a loser’s bracket showdown on Saturday with an 8-5 victory against the Aztecs in the 5A Division I state tournament on Friday at Marcos de Niza high school.
It’s Basha against Red Mountain at 11:45 a.m. Saturday at Marcos de Niza alongside the Highland/Mountain Ridge matchup (St. Mary’s vs. Xavier, and Desert Ridge vs. Salpointe play at 10 a.m.).
This third meeting between Basha and Red Mountain (each team has won a game) might have come a week early, but a top-notch elimination game nonetheless.
"For both of us it’s way too early, but we felt it was going to happen," Bears coach Scott Hoffmeyer said.
A four-run fifth in which Basha batted around the lineup finally put Corona away. The Regester sisters (Kailey and Lauren) both had three hits and Theresa Asta hit a two doubles and drove in three runs in the game.
The Bears pounded out a dozen hits, seven of which were doubles, a far cry from being no-hit in their first-round loss to Highland.
"If we can hit we’re going to be OK," Hoffmeyer said. "We have to stop the dry spells we fall into."
Through a season of highs-and-lows by the game, the Aztecs barely made the tournament but beat No. 2 Red Mountain in the first round.
The Aztecs lose five seniors but 14-year-old freshman pitcher McKenna Isenberg flashed her potential and the Aztecs got three hits and two RBI from Katie Tripp. Nicole Giannonatti went 2 for 4 with a run and RBI.
Defense has been an issue all season long for the Aztecs. Three errors hurt the cause Friday as did a potential tying run was thrown out at home with one out in the top of the sixth.
Basha scored two in the bottom of the sixth to pull away a final time.
"No one expected us to be here, much less this far," Aztecs coach Jeep Ray said.
Not many expected Basha and Red Mountain to meet here either, at least not for another couple of games.
"Somebody is going to go home which is kind of a bummer," Hoffmeyer said.
Red Mountain 5, Casa Grande 2
No. 2 Red Mountain recovered by a rare defensive miscue and turned a tie game into a 5-2 victory late against No. 6 Casa Grande on Friday.
The Lions led 2-0 into the top of the sixth when a couple errors allowed Casa Grande to tie the score at 2-2.
Red Mountain came back with three runs in the bottom of the sixth as pitcher Mel Willadsen’s two-run single turned into a two-base error.
Sierra Phillips went 3 for 3 with two runs and an RBI. Willadsen had two hits and three RBI, didn’t allow an earned run on the mound and struck out 13 Cougars.