The Pinnacle baseball team needed this game to stay within striking distance of Chaparral for the 4A Desert Sky Region crown.
Coach Rich Warnol might be plucking a few extra gray hairs today, but the mission was accomplished.
Ryan Makis struck out 11 in six innings as the No. 4 Pioneers held on to beat McClintock 4-3 on Friday at McClintock.
The Chargers had runners at first and third trailing by a run in the seventh, but Eric Urry bounced out as the Pioneers stayed within two games of the Firebirds in the loss column. It was the second win for Pinnacle over McClintock in as many days.
“The team did what they needed to do, when they needed to do it,” Warnol said.
“We were fortunate to put the ball in play at the right times.”
Jimmy Patterson gave up only one earned run in a complete-game effort, but three unearned scores were McClintock’s undoing. Patterson was responsible for two, as an overthrow on a sacrifice bunt and then a wild pitch gave Pinnacle a 3-2 lead in the fifth.
The Pioneers (17-6, 5-2) got an insurance run in the seventh on a Justin Winters RBI single. The inning was extended because of an errant throw on a grounder off the bat of Bryan Karraker two batters earlier.
Makis was taken out after six innings because of a high pitch count, and McClintock (15-9, 4-4) almost rallied against reliever Garrison Hensley.
Patterson scored on a two-out single by Mark Anderson to cut the lead to 4-3, and Urry almost tied the game, but a line drive to left field sliced just foul.
Brett Nicholas hit a mammoth solo homer in the first inning to give Pinnacle a 1-0 lead and was subsequently intentionally walked his final three times up. Nicholas went 3-for-3 with two doubles and a homer against McClintock on Thursday.
Patterson was 3-for-3 with three runs scored for McClintock, and Xorge Carrillo was 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.
Pinnacle has three more games before season-ending back-to-back contests with Chaparral on April 25 and 26.
“We’re coming back to get them,” Makis said. “I’m really looking forward to my start against Chaparral.”