Late mistakes costly as baseball falls to Phoenix, 9-6, in Region I first round

Jordan Zimmerman had a four-hit game (Photo by Aaron Webster)
Jordan Zimmerman had a four-hit game (Photo by Aaron Webster)

  MESA, AZ - A series of mistkaes late in the game proved costly for Mesa as the T-Birds lost the first game of the best-of-three Region I semi-final Thursday to Phoenix, 9-6.

  The two teams will meet again Friday at 3:00 p.m., in Mesa in what will be an elimination game for the T-Birds.

  MCC jumped in front 3-0, but saw PC put up sixtin the sixth and tack on three runs later to take the victory.

  The T-Birds jumped to a 3-0 lead in the second as Jordan Rose (So., Tremonton, Utah/Bear River H.S.) delivered a two-run double which was followed by an RBI base hit by Drew Lawrence (So., Anthem, AZ/Boulder Creek H.S.). Rose, however, would have to leave the game in the eighth after taking a bad step while stopping a pitch in the dirt.

  It stayed that way until the sixth. MCC starter Kent Hasler (Fr., Chandler, AZ/Hamilton H.S.) had cruised through the first five innings, allowing just three hits. But the near 100 degree heat may have finally taken its toll when the Bears first five hitters in the sixth all singled. Reliever Danny Lutz (So., Phoenix, AZ/Shadow Mountain H.S.) got an out on a sacrifice by the first batter he faced, but then surrendered three straight hits. A Mesa throwing error contributed to extending the inning.

  The T-Birds closed to within one in the seventh when Jordan Zimmerman (So., Mesa, AZ/Red Mountain H.S.) and Mitchell Morimoto (Fr., Issaquah, Wash/Issaquah H.S.) delivered back-to-back doubles.

  PC tacked on two more unearned runs in the ninth, before MCC tried to rally in the bottom of the ninth.

  Zimmerman got his fourth hit on the game and Morimoto tripled him home. He then scored on a wild pitch. Brady Bate (So., Spanish Fork, Utah/Spanish Fork H.S.) walked and Jacob Boston (Fr., Chandler, AZ/Hamilton H.S.) reached on an error bringing the potential tying run to the plate. James Anderson (So., Henderson, Nev/Coronado H.S.) hit a line shot right down the first base line, but that was exactly where Phoenix first baseman Justin Wilde was playing, resulting in an easy unassisted double play that ended the game.

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