The changing of the guard took place a month ago, but Tuesday served as the formal ceremony.
Boulder Creek (28-4, 11-0) continued its newfound Northwest Region dominance by drubbing 2010 co-champion Mountain Ridge (10-14-1) 10-0 in six innings.
While Mountain Ridge and Deer Valley tied for the title in 2010, last year's playoffs provided a sign of the Jaguars ascendance. Boulder Creek was a surprise semfinal team in 5A-II.
A trio of talented transfers increased the Jaguars' upward trajectory this year. Meanwhile, the Mountain Lions and Skyhawks have suffered through their most frustrating season in more than a decade.
Now Boulder Creek is battling Scottsdale Chaparral for the top seed in 5A-II. Mountain Ridge, on the other hand, is almost assured of missing the playoffs for the first time since its formative years.
"I don't think we have a shot of making it now. We had to win out including this game to have a shot of getting in," Mountain Ridge coach Tommy Eubanks said. "We're at the point in the season where we'll get everybody some time and work toward next year."
Boulder Creek started the afternoon with three runs on four hits. That was all junior ace (and ex-Pinnacle pitcher) Tony Blanford needed.
Blanford threw five innings allowing one run, striking out seven and keeping the bases clean for his first three innings.
His counterpart, junior Houston Samuel, settled down in the second and third innings before running into more trouble in the fourth. Junior (and Pinnacle transfer) David Real led off with a double, and senior Joseph Fant knocked him in on another double.
Senior Phillip Bayus knocked in Fant, and senior Jonny Pawling finished the inning with another RBI double.
Mountain Ridge finally broke through against Blanford in the bottom of the fourth, but even with runners at second and third base and one out the Mountain Lions could not score.
"They all work hard. You work with them, and with some kids it gets through, with some kids it doesn't," Eubanks said.
The third Pinnacle transfer, senior Alex Real, led off the fifth by blasting a home run over the left field fence. Junior West Tunnell also drove in a run in the inning.
Senior Cody Jones capped the scoring in the sixth inning by hitting a RBI single down the third base line.
While this loss was reminiscent of last week's 19-8 defeat by Chaparral, the inability to win close games snuffed the Mountain Lions' playoff hopes this season. Moun tain Ridge lost four power point games by three runs or less.
"All year we've lost games 2-1, 5-4, 5-3 and 7-4. It's just not getting a hit with runners in scoring position," Eubanks said. "We've averaged double digits in runners left on base."