Horizon baseball coach Eric Kibler may have the right idea.
When the Huskies host their annual National Invitational Tournament in late March, they do so in part to simulate what the state tournament will be like in mid-May.
Three or four consecutive games test the pitching staff to see if it's more than two or three deep.
Teams in the Fiesta Region also are catching on to that notion. Gilbert district athletic director Mark Cisterna, who is in charge of putting together the region's baseball schedules for the next two-year block, said coaches are interested in playing three region games a week a couple of times.
‘‘I think teams realize that developing pitching depth is important,’’ Cisterna said.
The Fiesta has played just two region games a week for the most part the last two years, partly to accommodate Yuma Kofa, which bears a travel burden and plays five doubleheaders during the region season.
Next year Kofa is moving out of the region and Casa Grande is taking its place, so the travel issue is not that big a factor. The Central, Desert Valley and East Valley regions have all played three region games in a week at some point this season.
A couple of key players have been injured on 4A East Sky Region baseball teams.
R.C. Chandler, the shortstop for No. 2 Coronado, sprained a thumb ligament last week. Coach Buck Holmes wasn't sure as of Monday when Chandler, who is hitting .540, would return.
Over at Saguaro, first baseman and cleanup hitter Mike Miles has been lost for the season after breaking a knuckle in a loss last week to Chaparral.
It’s no secret — and 5A East Valley Region baseball coaches admit it — that the Mesa schools are down this year in overall strength. The chore the last three weeks for region leader Mountain View is to sharpen its play and know that once the postseason begins, the competition will jump up a notch or so.
Mountain View is 8-0 in region play after sweeping Westwood, Skyline, Dobson and Mesa in two-game series. The Toros are hitting well for average and power and getting solid pitching from seniors Brad Mills and Dayton Hansen. Mountain View entered region play 5-6 and has surged to a 13-6 record over the last three weeks. Mountain View’s six losses have come against Glendale Ironwood, Desert Vista, Yuma Cibola, El Dorado (Calif.), Tucson Sunnyside and Tucson Salpointe.
TRYING TO DIFFERENTIATE
Mountain View's baseball team has a Pritchert (Andy) and a Pritchard (Rhett). The former plays outfield and the latter shortstop. Heading into today's game with Red Mountain, both are batting .492. Rhett is the guy with more home runs (six).