Malcolm Holland was not going to strike out. That much he knew.
And when the ball he put in play fell in over the head of Mountain View second baseman Jamie Keller, it gave Hamilton a 4-3 walkoff victory in the bottom of the seventh inning on Tuesday afternoon at Glendale Camelback Stadium.
The No. 4 seed Huskies stay in the winner’s bracket of the 5A Division I baseball tournament, and will face off with No. 9 Brophy on Saturday.
Holland’s two-out single plated Kyle Pechloff to end the game after the fifth-seeded Toros tied it up in the top of the seventh.
“I was going to put it in play, for sure,” Holland said. “And once I saw that curveball, I stayed back and flared it out.”
The hit gave Mountain View starter Willie Ethington a hard luck loss after he limited the Huskies to only five hits in his 6 2/3 innings. Ethington was perfect through three frames and Hamilton’s first two runs were both unearned.
“Ethington’s tough,” Hamilton coach Mike Woods said. “He’s one of the best kept secrets in the state of Arizona, in my opinion.”
Derek Hill threw a complete game for the Huskies, striking out ten to secure the win. He allowed a pair of runs in the first inning, but didn’t allow another until the seventh.
Hamilton led 3-2 going into the top of the seventh, and after a leadoff double, Hill struck out two straight batters to leave Mountain View with only one out remaining.
However, Keller coaxed a seven-pitch walk, and Beau Stapley followed with an RBI single to tie the game at 3.
The momentum was short-lived, as the Holland and the Huskies responded in the bottom of the frame.
“No matter what inning it is or how many runs we’re down, we know we have a shot when we come up to hit,” Hill said. “We’re always confident.”
Hill said his ability to get his off-speed pitches over the plate for strikes was the key to his impressive performance. Since Hamilton didn’t use a relief pitcher in the contest, everybody else on the staff will be available if needed against the Broncos on Saturday.
Mitch Nay went 1-for-3 with a single for Hamilton in his first game back after missing time with a shoulder injury. He hit a drive to left center that traveled approximately 390 feet, but the big ballpark held it for a long flyout.