hen the second pitch of the game ended up on Greenway Road, Phoenix Camelback pitcher Robert Ruelas had to figure he was in for a rough night in this 5A state tournament baseball game.
Actually it was the entire Spartan team that was in trouble as host Horizon began its quest for a state championship with a 10-0, five-inning victory Tuesday night.
The Huskies (30-3) advance to the 5A state quarterfinals where they will face Yuma Kofa at 7 p.m. today at Diablo Stadium.
Leadoff hitter Brandon Wood sent a 1-0 pitch over the left field fence to give Horizon the instant lead. It is Wood's 20th home run of the year, putting him two short of the 5A state record held by former Desert Vista star Corey Myers.
The home runs are nice, but the wins are much better for Wood.
“What I want most is a state championship and that is the main focus of this team,'' Wood said.
Wood has played on quality Horizon teams for four seasons, but he says this team, because of its chemistry, has the best chance at winning a state title.
Horizon scored at least one run in every inning off Ruelas and later Scott Brubaker. Camelback advanced to the second round of the state tournament with a 6-3 win over Phoenix Goldwater on Monday.
Tuesday, the Spartans were no match for the Huskies, the Desert Valley Region champions.
Horizon had 11 hits with Wood getting three and driving in two runs. Horizon right fielder Donato Giovanatto drove in three runs with a pair of doubles.
Wood has been a starter at shortstop since his freshman season at Horizon because of his defense. His relentless work on offense over the last three years has made him one of Arizona's premier baseball players. The senior is hitting over .500 this season.
“He has such a great makeup,'' Horizon coach Eric Kibler said. “He is one of the few guys with that much talent who is humble and has such a great passion for the game. He's worked harder than any kid I've ever seen.''
Wood's defense has always been solid as he and the rest of the Huskies gobbled up and ran down every ball Camelback hit on Tuesday night.
They made starter Brad Devore look very good on the mound, not that the junior needed a lot of help.
Devore (5-2) allowed just one hit over five innings to get the victory.