In what began as a pitcher's duel ended with timely hitting that led to a victory for Mountain View over host Red Mountain Tuesday in a 5A East Valley Region baseball game.
Toros' cleanup hitter Jesse Hudson laced a ground-rule double over the center field fence in the sixth inning to score Ridge Nielsen and give Mountain View the lead that held up for a 3-2 win.
The Mountain Lions scored first in the bottom of the fourth inning. Until the fourth, both starting pitchers had done a masterful job of inducing ground balls and a few deep flies, but to start the inning Toro pitcher Nick Shannon hit the first batter he faced and from there, it only got worse.
After putting Josh Rodriguez on, pinch runner Mitch Lewis stole second and advanced to third on a single by Kyle Frasard. Shannon then threw a wild pitch that got past catcher Ridge Nielsen and Lewis scored. Lions pitcher Chris Love doubled in Frasard, giving Red Mountain a 2-0 lead.
Mountain View didn't wait long to answer.
Designated hitter Micah Yetter reached on a single and eventually scored on a wild pitch in the fifth inning. Pinch hitter T.J. Del Rio followed with an RBI single that scored Riley Nielsen to tie it at 2.
Mountain View (12-7, 2-0) coach Mike Thiel opted to stick with starter Shannon, rather than turn the game over to his bullpen. "Nick is experienced and we were going to stick with him until he couldn't go," said Thiel.
The move worked as Shannon (3-2) shut out Red Mountain (11-10, 0-2) the rest of the way.
The Toros' bats came alive in the sixth, when Ridge Nielsen led off with a triple that set up Hudson's clutch hit off Love (3-2).
"I have struggled some this year, but he threw me a fastball and I had my best hit of the year," said Nielsen. When asked if he considered staying at second, he laughed. "I was slowing down, but they were waving me on so I had to go."