A pair of Gilbert schools tried to concoct a formula Saturday afternoon to knock Tempe Corona del Sol from the ranks of the baseball unbeatens. But as eight other schools found out, there's just no beating the Aztecs at present.
Second-ranked Corona del Sol pounded out 14 hits in each of its two games on the opening day of the East Valley-Fiesta Spring Tournament and wound up with an 11-1 five-inning triumph over Gilbert Mesquite and a 14-7 win over Gilbert High. Both games were played at Mesquite High School.
"This is a group with seven seniors who have been up (on varsity) since they were sophomores," Corona del Sol coach David Webb said. "They've bought into how we want to do things. It's been fantastic so far."
Corona del Sol improved to 10-0 with the victories. The Aztecs are averaging 12.1 runs per game and allowing 3.3 per game.
In Corona's noon game with Mesquite, the Aztecs jumped out to a 4-0 lead after three innings. Oddly enough over that span, Mesquite was even in hits at six, but defense and clutch-hitting strictly belonged to Corona.
Corona got RBI hits from Kirby Pellant and winning pitcher Tyler Giannonatti in the first. Mesquite had its first three batters reach base in the bottom of the first. The Wildcats failed to score thanks to catcher Evean Ritchey gunning down Zach Davies trying to steal and Giannonatti retiring Thad Heibult on a fly to right with the bases loaded.
Mesquite (5-4) had three hits in the third off Giannonatti, but was denied thanks to a 5-4-3 double play and a pop-out by Heibult with runners on first and second.
Giannonatti pitched four innings. He gave up six hits, walked one and struck out four. Every Corona del Sol player in the lineup had at least one hit. Ryan Moore (three singles and a walk) and Pellant three hits, including a double and triple, led the way.
Gilbert's effort to upend Corona started well with designated hitter D.J. Peterson socking a two-run homer to center for a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Peterson added a second two-run homer in the sixth.
The Aztecs didn't take kindly to trailing and reversed the deficit their first time up.
Corona scored three runs on three hits and plus a couple of Gilbert errors. Gilbert fielding and particularly, throwing, were an issue all day. The Tigers made seven errors to go with the 14 hits the Aztecs amassed.
Mike Felton rapped out three hits in the win over Gilbert and drove in two runs. Pellant added two more hits and a pair of RBIs. For the day Corona had 13 players get at least one at-bat. Twelve had a hit.