The quest for its first state baseball playoff berth since 2003 is still on for Mesa Westwood.
Ace hurler Dan Zapata gave up one run in six innings and Sean Whiteman had three hits and five RBIs to keep the Warriors alive in an 11-1 romp over Mesa High at HoHoKam Park.
"The last couple weeks we look in the box score and we had more errors than hits," Westwood coach Brian Stephenson said. "We came up with a game we needed. Our seniors came up big."
Zapata, a senior who is completing his fourth varsity season, struck out nine and passed the 100-strikeout mark for the year with 101 with his effort Tuesday night. He allowed a run on two hits in the first, but followed it up with five scoreless innings to pick up his sixth win of the year.
Westwood (12-13-1, 2-6 East Valley Region) broke open a 2-1 game in the sixth with Zapata and Mesa starter Chris Wert locked in a nifty duel. But Westwood's first three hitters in the top of the sixth reached on errors. Eventually Whiteman made the Jackrabbits pay with a bases-loaded triple. Westwood held an 8-1 lead after its at-bat ended. Whiteman tacked on a two-run double to cap a three-run seventh that has Westwood looking forward to today's matchup with Phoenix Pinnacle. A win won't guarantee Westwood a berth, but at least gives it hope.
Meanwhile, Mesa (13-15, 4-3) now faces the pressure of needing a win today in its season finale at Mesa Red Mountain to maintain a state tournament berth. Westwood committed four errors two weeks ago when the Mesa crushed it, 9-1. Zapata wasn't sharp that day to boot. Tuesday night was a very different outcome.
"We don't have it easy, that's for sure," Mesa coach Joe Bergen said. "We have to play a lot better than we did tonight."
Along with Zapata and Whiteman's efforts were the bats of Carlos Arzaga (4-for-4 with two RBIs) and Marshall Davis with two hits and two RBIs.