One pivotal inning doesn’t define a high school baseball team’s season.
But for Mountain View coach Craig Lopez and the Wildcats, Friday’s sixth inning explosion and eventual 10-7 Commonwealth District victory at Colonial Forge could be the start of something big.
The defending Region 5D champions had lost three of their first four games prior to Friday’s contest and trailed the Eagles by one run when they came to bat in the sixth.
Eleven batters later, the Wildcats’ offense had pounded out five hits and scored six times to take a 9-4 lead and seize momentum against the previously unbeaten Eagles.
“We needed this one,” said Lopez. “This could be a turning point for us. We had been working hard, but hadn’t done anything like this. Tonight we competed. I liked our tenacity. ”
Tenacity was on display for much of the game on a cool night. With both teams starting their pitching aces, hits and runs were hard-earned in the early going.
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Mountain View’s Mikey Arce and Colonial Forge’s Zyhir Hope both had their moments on the mound in the first five innings. Arce struck out six and Hope fanned seven as the Eagles (6-1, 2-1) built a 4-3 lead. Arce made an even bigger contribution for the Wildcats with his bat.
The senior helped his own cause with four hits in four trips to the plate and also drove in a pair of runs. His two-out single in the decisive sixth plated Tyler Debish to start the scoring spree.
“I was definitely feeling good at the plate,” said Arce. “This was my first game to get an opportunity like that, and I just went for it.”
Besides Arce’s big night at the plate, Mountain View (2-3, 2-1) got two hits apiece from infielders Hunter Butler and Hayden Rue. Second baseman Ryan Proffitt walked three times and scored three runs.
“We had the same kind of start last year when we lost early games, and then rolled for the rest of the season,” said Arce. “A lot of our younger guys are starting to set up now. I’m proud of them. “
In the top of the seventh, Mountain View added an insurance run when TJ Johnson led off the frame with a walk, advanced to third on a bunt by Proffitt and then scored on a passed ball.
After giving up their three-run lead, the Eagles kept battling. In their half of the sixth, Hope’s three-run blast to center cut their deficit to 9-7, but the comeback ended there.
Hope also singled and collected four RBIs for Colonial Forge, which had won four one-run games in its 6-0 start. Aidan King added a pair of singles.
“Mountain View was hitting gap shots,” said Eagles coach David Colangelo. “They earned that game, but we were aggressive and didn’t give up. Our defense was pretty clean on a wet field, and we found a way to score seven runs. “
Colonial Forge hosts Stone Bridge on Monday in the first of three games next week. Mountain View travels to Brooke Point on Tuesday.
Mountain View 100 026 1 – 10 11 3
Colonial Forge 030 013 0 – 7 7 2
MICHAEL ARCE, Brandon Hamilton (6) and TJ Johnson. Zyhir Hope, KEVIN O’NEILL (6), Graham Jones (6), Kenny Foster (6), Cameron Biller (7) and Robbie Stempin.
Steve Franzello: 540 / 374-5440