AIA365.com

Don Ketchum
Former Staff Writer, AIA365.com

Firebirds top Mountain View 1-0 in baseball pitching duel

From the ceremonial first toss by a 94-year-old fan to the final out of the game, Thursday’s (April 24) Division I baseball game between visiting Mesa Mountain View and Scottsdale Chaparral was all about pitching.

Mountain View right-hander Nolan Ross gave up three hits and walked two and Chaparral right-hander Collin Gabel gave up two hits and walked three.

Chaparral scratched out an unearned run in the second inning and made it hold up for a 1-0 triumph in the crisp contest that lasted just shy of 90 minutes.

Chaparral, No. 2 in power points entering the day, raised its record to 23-3. No. 5 Mountain View, which had won six games in a row, slipped to 19-10.

“I was talking to Coach (Mike) Thiel (Mountain View) just now (after the game), and I agree with what he said: “That was a good performance by two very good pitchers against two very good offensive teams,’ ’’ said Chaparral coach Sam Messina.

“That we were able to get out front with a run took some of the pressure off, but their kid (Ross) did a great job against us.’’

Messina also gave credit to Gabel for his solid pitching effort as well as his approach at the plate. He did not get a hit, but hit the ball on the nose a couple of times.

“He’s in a good place right now,’’ Messina said.

In the bottom of the second inning, Chaparral leadoff man Tanner Bollig reached base on an infield error. He advanced to third on a base hit by Gage Hampton and scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by Gabe Hamilton.

Chaparral appeared it might be setting itself up for an insurance run in the fifth when Hamilton hit a double with one out, but Ross escaped further trouble.

“It’s good to play games like these down the stretch,’’ Messina said. “You can’t take anything for granted.’’