Midway through their season, the Maricopa High School Rams have an even record of 6-6 on the baseball field and are gearing up for region play.
Outside of tournament competition, the Rams are 3-1. In those three victories, Maricopa put up double-digits against the opponents.
After jumping all over Glendale 12-2 on Monday, however, Maricopa dropped Wednesday’s cross-county game to Vista Grande, 5-0.
“We’ve been playing some good baseball,” head coach Andrew Pollak said. “Today obviously wasn’t one of those days, but we had four games last week where we did some really good things. We had a good game Monday night. Today’s just one of those days.”
The Rams have more than a week to practice for their next game, which is March 23 hosting Mesquite. After that, all but three of their games will be against 5A Metro region competition.
“Our team is really young. Before today they’d really been playing solid,” Pollak said.
That is a point of pride, but he is still looking for strong leadership to emerge on the team as competition gets intense over the next month. The Rams play all region teams twice. That includes McClintock, Ironwood, Raymond S. Kellis, Sunnyslope and Apollo.
“We’re in a good spot. We’ve got to take care of our region,” Pollak said.
In Monday’s route of Glendale, Maricopa scored three runs in the first inning. The Rams followed up with five in the fourth and four in the fifth to claim the game via the 10-run rule.
Sophomore Nico Bandin had two hits, drove in three runs and scored three. Senior Marcos Cano was 3-for-3 at the plate and picked up an RBI. Sophomore Devin Fiala and junior Taylor Belcher both had two RBIs. Senior Jackson Stensgard had the team’s only extra-base hit, a double.
Junior Tyler Belcher pitched four innings, striking out nine, for the victory. Only one of the two runs scored against him was earned.
In Wednesday’s loss at home to Vista Grande, the Rams could not get anything started offensively and had some defensive mistakes as well. The Spartans clung to a 1-0 lead through four innings before breaking out with four more in the fifth.
The Rams managed just three hits, a double from sophomore Malachi Hogg and singles from Bandin and Stensgard.
Carter Paine pitched five innings, striking out four and walking five. Taylor Belcher pitched two innings.
Overall this season, Maricopa is batting .322. That is led by Paine’s .459 average through 12 games. Cano is hitting .400, and Taylor Belcher is batting .353. Bandin and sophomore Renzo Silva are at .324. Stensgard has played in only the last four games and is batting .462.
Paine has pitched 19 and a third innings and has a 2-2 record with an ERA of 4.34. He has struck out 19, given up 19 hits and walked 16. Tyler Belcher has thrown for 14 innings, giving up 11 runs for ERA of 5.50. He has struck out 17 and walked 11.
Feb. 22-25 Pinon-Huffman Tourney
Tempe W 4-3
Higley L 4-10
Dobson L 5-9
Apache Junction W 11-7
March 2 Sierra Linda W 10-2
March 3 Desert Edge W 11-7
March 8-11 Boras Baseball Classic
Corona del Sol L 0-5
Prescott L 3-14
Centennial W 8-7
Arcadia L 2-5
March 13 Glendale W 12-2
March 15 Vista Grande L 0-5
March 23 Mesquite 4 p.m. Home
March 24 Ironwood* 4 p.m. Home
March 28 Kellis* 3:45 Away
March 30 Casa Grande 4 p.m. Home
March 31 Kellis* 4 p.m. Home
April 4 Sunnyslope* 4 p.m. Home
April 6 Verrado 3:45 Away
April 7 Sunnyslope* 4 p.m. Away
April 11 Apollo* 4 p.m. Away
April 12 Ironwood* 3:45 Away
April 13 Apollo* 4 p.m. Home
April 18 McClintock* 4 p.m. Home
April 20 McClintock* 4 p.m. Away
April 21 Williams Field 4 p.m. Home