Mesquite first baseman Matt Waldren was determined, and came back with a vengeance.
Make that, upset and the Wildcats’ junior took out his resentment on Desert Mountain pitcher Jake McAdams.
Waldren was called back for a pinch hitter earlier in Saturday's Division I baseball elimination game, but came to the plate with a runner on second and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
With the winning run on base but Holland behind in the count at 1-2, proceeded to lace a single off of McAdams into the left-center gap to score Casey Howard from second. That give the Wildcats a 4-3 win over Desert Mountain at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, and another date in the state tournament.
The Wildcats next play Tuesday night against Brophy at 6:30 p.m. at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
“I knew a seeing-eye single would not get the job done,” Waldren said. “I had to get it in the gap and I was just looking for something I could hit there.”
The win marked the second walk-off win for Mesquite within the last week.
“No one likes to be taken out for a pinch hitter,” Waldren added. “I know this is a team game and coaches do things for a reason. I was happy to help us find a way to win.”
Waldren’s game winner was set up by a one-out double from designated hitter Casey Howard. After Brad Holland grounded to mound, Waldren delivered his walk-out shot to the outfield gap.
If not for a blown lead, Waldren’s heroics would not have happened. The Wildcats held a two-run lead going into the seventh, but Desert Mountain forced extra innings.
With one out, centerfielder Austin Mill singled and scored on a double from second baseman Drew McLaughlin. On the throw to the plate, McLaughlin took third and scored on a David Greer’s sacrifice fly to center knotted this affair.
Single runs in the first and third, plus catcher Jake Howard’s sixth inning home run pushed Mesquite into that 3-1 advantage.
“We need to do a better job of holding on to leads,” said Wildcats coach Jeff Holland. “When we get the lead, we need to step on their throats.”
The Wildcats’ starter, left-handed senior Dylan Rana, pitched well and put his team in a position to win. Pitching into the sixth, Rana allowed three hits, one run, walked four and struck out one.
“Dylan has not pitched in a while and turned in a quality start,” coach Holland said. “He gave us an opportunity to win and that’s all I can ask from any pitcher.”