Deeper fences at Phoenix Municipal Stadium — the Spring Training home of the Oakland A’s — meant more fair territory in the outfield and more room for base hits.
Phoenix Mountain Pointe took advantage of that, but didn’t have a problem hitting it over the wall, either.
The sixth-seeded Pride knocked out 10 hits, including three home runs, to defeat No. 3 Hamilton 7-4 in the second round of the 5A-I state tournament on Tuesday afternoon.
Kevin Cron hit a two-run blast in the first inning, and Joey Curletta followed with a three-run homer in the third and an opposite field solo shot in the seventh.
“It felt great,” Curletta said. “I wasn’t expecting to hit them today.”
Mountain Pointe played at Hohokam Stadium earlier this season, and coach Brandon Buck said his players were trying too hard for the fences in that one.
This time, it came naturally.
“You get into this atmosphere, and everyone wants to have that idea of hitting a home run in a big league park,” Buck said. “You can’t blame them, but we had like 15 infield flies (at Hohokam). You saw guys going to the plate with good approaches today. We weren’t trying to hit home runs.”
Mountain Pointe advances to the third round of the winner’s bracket, where it will play Red Mountain on Saturday while teams in the loser’s bracket play Thursday
“Obviously what everyone wants to do is win those first two and get that off day,” Buck said.
Cron, the team’s ace, threw a complete game in an easy first round win, and came in for 2 1/3 innings of relief Tuesday. He will start on Saturday.
Hamilton drops to the loser’s bracket and takes on Mountain View on Thursday in an elimination game.
The Huskies, who lost only three times in the regular season, committed three errors in the field and allowed Jordan Kipper to score from third on a double-steal in the fourth inning to give Mountain Pointe a 6-0 lead.
The Huskies rallied with three runs in the seventh and had the tying run at bat, but Cron struck out Colton Frabasilio to end the contest.