It was, after all, Dobson that put Desert Ridge into this position.
It was Jaguars' ace Scott Hoffman throwing behind an offensive barrage, that returned the cold favor of ending the Mustangs' season.
Desert Ridge, playing in the 5A Division I elimination bracket, kept its championship hopes alive with a 12-2 victory over the Mustangs in five innings Saturday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
The Jaguars will play Gilbert at Camelback Ranch Glendale Stadium in another elimination game on Tuesday afternoon.
Dobson beat Desert Ridge, 9-7, in the first round of the state tournament, forcing Desert Ridge into the single-elimination bracket.
“They celebrated for like 20 minutes,”Hoffman said of the first game. “It felt really good to get them back.”
Hoffman lived in traffic all game with seven base-runners allowed in the first three innings, including three walks. He threw three wild pitches, had a two-base error on a pick-off attempt at first base, and even had one pitch bounce less than a foot off the mound, losing the grip on the ball as he released it.
“I was wild,”Hoffman said. “I was sweating a lot and I had this cotton shirt underneath that messed up my delivery.”
“He could have pitched naked if he wanted,” Desert Ridge coach Pat Herrera joked. “He eventually found (his command) though.”
Only two of the eleven baserunners that reached for Dobson scored, as Hoffman eventually located his breaking ball, using it in combination with a strong fastball to keep Mustang hitters off-balance with runners in scoring position.
The offense gave Hoffman plenty of cushion.
Shortstop Riley Unroe led off the bottom of the first with a moonshot home run off a billboard in right field. The Jaguars scored four in the second, including an RBI single by Nick McGinnes, and two more from a single by Justin Donovan.
Desert Ridge erupted for six in the third, as singles from Alonzo Palacios, Taylor Flores and Justin Adams scored four. The finals two runs were scored by a wild pitch in the fourth and an error in the bottom of fifth by a Dobson pitcher, bringing the winning run home.
Unroe finished the game 2-2 with three walks, while Donovan finished with two hits and three runs batted in.
“When you’re in the loser bracket, it’s all about survival.” Herrera said. “We’re just happy to be alive for next week.”