It hasn't won enough state titles to be considered a habit, but Desert Ridge is working on it.
The Jaguars won their second straight state baseball championship on Saturday by downing Mountain Pointe, 11-4, at Glendale’s Camelback Ranch.
Last year it was Desert Ridge winning the 5A-II title. This year it's the 5A-I Championship.
Senior shortstop D.W. Warner came up huge at the plate for the Jaguars with a two-run single in the fourth inning, then another RBI single in the sixth.
"I wanted this so bad for our senior class," Desert Ridge coach Pat Herrera said.
Saturday’s win was the 30th of the season for Desert Ridge and it is the third time in as many games the Jaguars beat the Pride this season.
It was Warner who gave the Jaguars took the lead for good in the fourth inning when he singled home Mike Britton and Riley Unroe. Mountain Pointe starter Josh Alexander had walked the first two batters he faced on eight straight pitches, but the Pride got the next two outs before Warner came up with the big hit.
Warner’s single in the sixth was just the start as Desert Ridge scored six times in the inning to seal the victory. Austin Cain drove in two more with a single later in the inning.
This game was a far cry from the Jaguars' previous two in this state tournament. Desert Ridge faced Gilbert in both of those games and had narrow 5-4 and 5-3 victories.
Desert Ridge got a complete-game victory out of junior Scott Hoffman, who finished the season a perfect 13-0 on the mound. Of those victories, three came against the Pride and three more came against powerful Gilbert.
After the second inning he allowed just one run and four hits.
"I had a hard time keeping the ball down," Hoffman said.
It wasn’t until he was intentionally walked in the fifth that Hoffman got mad. He wanted to hit and he said that motivated him to pitch better in the final two innings which he did.
The Pride got a perfect start to the game by scoring twice in the top half of the first inning off Hoffman. With two out, Kevin Cron homered to left, Josh Alexander singled and then came home on a double by Joey Curletta.
It was a significant home run for Cron as it was the junior’s 22nd of the season which ties the state record set by Desert Vista’s Corey Myers.
"We were anxious at the start," Herrera said. "They punched us right in the nose. I always tell them to be the tougher team."
But after the first two innings the Pride suffered, offensively and defensively. They committed five errors and a passed ball by Cron allowed another run to score. Cron caught the game with an injured foot and his mobility limited him behind the plate and trying to throw out base runners.