With his high school career complete and neatly filed alongside other East Valley baseball legends, Tim Alderson doesn’t need long to remember his worst game.
The Scottsdale Horizon pitcher was a junior. On a late April date against Scottsdale Desert Mountain, Alderson gave up a home run to Hayden Parrott on the first pitch of the game. Then Parrott hit another home run off Alderson a few innings later.
He gave up three runs that day in a 5-4 loss.
“I felt I was terrible,” he said. “I gave up three runs.”
Forget one game. Most high school pitchers would be happy with a season’s ERA in the 3s, but these are standards the 6-foot-7 Alderson established for himself, where three runs are unacceptable.
No problem this spring. He went 12-0 with a 1.05 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 73.1 innings.
He also found a way to cut his walks in half, from eight as a junior to four this spring; or one walk every 9.1 innings pitched.
His swan song was a complete game with 12 strikeouts against rival Phoenix Brophy in leading the Huskies to a second state title in three years.
“Unheard of,” Horizon coach Eric Kibler said. “I’ve never been a part of anything like it.”
Alderson didn’t limit his exploits to the mound. He hit .340 with 11 homers and 40 RBIs. Impressive numbers, particularly considering the fact he saw few fastballs, let alone hittable ones. Five of his homers, Alderson points out, came against curveballs.
For the first time, Alderson worked out at Fitlife in Scottsdale during the season to strengthen his rotator cuff and improve endurance and flexibility.
It’s all part of his anticipated next step. The Major League Baseball draft is this month, and Alderson is expected to be a first- or second-round pick.
There will be decisions to make. He eagerly looks forward to using a scholarship to pitch at Oregon State, but come draft-day, “If it’s an offer I can’t refuse ...”
Whatever happens, Alderson still wants to be the guy who’s 6-foot-7 and gets teased about fitting into his small car.
He’s cool with the jokes, mostly because he’s had the last word for most of the past four years.
“It’s definitely going to be hard,” he said of the future. “I’m not going into rookie ball and having the best year ever. Everybody out there is going to be the best on their high school team. It’s going to be a lot harder.”
MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM THE 2007 SEASON
5A-4A sweep: East Valley and Scottsdale schools swept the four 5A and 4A state titles with some new blood and some familiar faces taking home the hardware.
The 5A Division I title belonged to Horizon for the second time in three years and the fourth time in the school’s nearly three decades of existence. The Huskies topped Brophy, 9-6, in a rematch of the 2006 title game.
In 5A-II, Marcos de Niza won its first crown in the sport. The Padres stumbled into the postseason after a rough go with mostly 5A-I opponents in April but got strong pitching and timely hitting to subdue Desert Mountain 5-4 in eight innings.
The 4A-I title left the clutches of Chaparral and went to one of the Firebirds’ rivals in the Desert Sky Region. McClintock, a 5A champ in 1985, won a wild 9-8 contest in 10 innings with another former 5A power, Tucson Sahuaro. In 4A-II, Coronado coach Buck Holmes took home his first state title when the Dons beat Notre Dame 20-8 in the championship contest.
Reaching milestones: Even though his team was denied a fifth straight 4A title, Chaparral coach Jerry Dawson notched the 700th win of his career on April 13 when the Firebirds knocked off Saguaro, 9-2. Mountain View coach Mike Thiel captured victory No. 300 when the Toros defeated Mesa 9-0 on April 17. Coronado coach Buck Holmes took home win No. 400 when his Dons beat Tempe 10-0 on April 19.
Playing more than two: Desert Mountain and Peoria Sunrise Mountain locked up in a meaningful game in the 5A-II playoffs on May 5. Neither realized before the game began they’d play more than a doubleheader rolled into one. The Wolves outlasted the Mustangs 4-3 in a 16-inning game that lasted nearly five hours.
Nice job, too: Even though Desert Mountain ended up second in 5A Division II, coach Bryan Rice’s squad fielded pretty much an entirely new lineup from the 2005-06 squad and held its own and then some with 5A-I and 5AII opposition, compiling a 26-9 record. The Wolves were 14-8 vs. 5A-I foes and 12-1 vs. 5A-II and 4A-I opponents. The only loss to a 5A-II school, of course, was for the title vs. Marcos de Niza.
Class 5A All-Tribune first team
Player School Yr. Pos. Comment
Tim Alderson Horizon Sr. P 12-0, 1.05 ERA, 111 K, 4 BB
Kevin Rhoderick Horizon Sr. P 8-1, 1.20 ERA, 119 K
Shaun Deisler Marcos de Niza Sr. C Hit .482, 8 HR, 30 RBI for state champs
Josh Garcia Brophy Sr. IF Hit .430, 13 HR, 39 RBI
Jason Butler Desert Mtn. Sr. IF Hit .468, 8 HR, 41 RBI
Riccio Torrez Brophy Jr. IF Batted .455, 16 HR, 46 RBI
Phil Konieczny Mtn. Pointe Sr. IF Batted .468, 12 HR as leadoff hitter
Matt Newman Brophy Sr. OF Hit .468, 12 HR, 43 RBI in No. 2 hole
Lars Liguori Desert Mtn. Jr. OF Hit .467, 32 R, 24 RBI
Andy Workman Hamilton Sr. OF Batted .467, led Huskies in runs and SB
Kevin Hennessey Chandler Sr. UT Hit .427; posted 9-1 record with 1.09 ERA Dean Espy Red Mtn. Jr. DH Hit area-best .571, added 33 RBI
Athlete of the year: Tim Alderson, P-1B, Horizon
Coach of the year: Felipe Becerra, Marcos de Niza, Won 5A-II title with perfect postseason
Class 5A All-Tribune second team
Player School Yr. Pos. Comment
Devin Fuller Gilbert Sr. P 1.05 ERA, 94 K, 73 1/3 IP, 6-2 record
Aaron Rhodes Mtn. View Sr. P 1.55 ERA, 8-2 record, 65 K
Andrew Pollak Corona Sr. C Hit .494, 7 HR, 36 RBI
Nolan Church Gilbert Sr. IF Batted .434, 6 HR, 34 RBI
Ethan Chavez Desert Ridge Jr. IF Table-setter batted .485, 28 SB
Kevin Odom Casa Grande Sr. IF Hit .540, 11 HR, 34 RBI and 13 SB
Mickey McConnell Dobson Sr. IF Batted .442, 30 R, 25 SB
Sean Lewis Chandler Sr. OF Hit .430, 23 R, 40 RBI, 8 SB
Nick Lira Mtn. Pointe Jr. OF Batted .435, 6 HR, 26 RBI
Kyle Hoyler Casa Grande Sr. OF Batted .410, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 15 SB
C.J. Cron Mtn. Pointe Jr. UT Hit .400, 7 HR, 10-2 record pitching
Mike Galterio Desert Mtn. Sr. DH Batted .458, 8 HR, 35 RBI
Class 5A honorable mention
Basha: Ryan Downs, So., IF.
Brophy: Harlyn Griffiths, Jr., OF; R.J. Preach, Sr., P; Tony Strazzara, Sr., IF.
Chandler: Colin Johnson, Sr., C; Jose Bracamonte, Jr., IF; Landis Ware, Sr., IF-P.
Corona del Sol: Tyler Giannonatti, So., IF; Dustin Campos, Sr., OF; Mike Felton, So., OF; Jesse Scoular, P, Sr.; Kirby Pellant, So., IF.
Desert Mountain: Merrill Kelly, Sr., P.
Desert Ridge: Jake Barrett, So., P-IF. Desert Vista: Roy Metter, Sr., P; Cole Pembroke, So., IF. Dobson: Steve Haakenson, Sr., IF.
Gilbert: Thomas Gutierrez, Sr., IF-P; Mike Dibiasi, Sr., OF; Chris Reese, Sr., IF.
Highland: Cooper Baker, Sr., OF.
Horizon: Steve DeFreitas, Jr., C; Tucker Rubino, Sr., IF; Joey Bristyan, Jr., OF.
Marcos de Niza: Kyle Brule, Sr., P.
Mesa: Chris Wert, So., IF.
Mesquite: Chris Jensen, Jr., P.
Mountain View: Todd Wooton, Sr., IF; Hunter Reynolds, Sr., IF; Coltin White, Jr., P.
Red Mountain: Jon Dupuy, Sr., P/OF.
Skyline: Nick Hartzell, Sr., IF.
Westwood: Ty Nielson, Sr., OF; Dan Zapata, Jr., P-IF.
Class 4A-1A All-Tribune first team
Player School Yr. Pos. Comment
Jimmy Patterson McClintock Sr. OF/P Hit .566 w/10 HR, went 10-3 with 2.42 ERA
Jake Schlander Chaparral Sr. SS Slick glove, hit .495 with 5 HR, 36 RBI
Brett Nicholas Pinnacle Sr. DH Hit .505 with 8 HR, 55 RBI
Joe Jacobson Coronado Sr. 1B Hit .500 with 8 HR, 15 2B and 55 RBI
Cody Fortney Coronado Sr. SS Hit .509 with 5 HR, 10 3B, 42 RBI
Torrey Jacoby Notre Dame Sr. SS Hit .474 with 4 HR, 49 RBI
Mike Greco Notre Dame Sr. 3B Hit .408 with 11 HR, 48 RBI
Koby Temple Valley Christian Sr. SS Hit .614 with 12 HR, 53 RBI
Jerome Pena Cactus Shadows Sr. P/SS Hit .520 with 8 HR, 7-1 on mound
Danny Coulombe Chaparral Jr. P Went 10-2 with 1.08 ERA, 120 K
Chris Manship Cactus Shadows Jr. C Hit .506 with 8 HR, 49 RBI
Ryan Makis Pinnacle Jr. P Went 7-2 with 1.21 ERA
Athlete of the year: Jimmy Patterson, P/CF, McClintock
Coach of the year: Buck Holmes, Coronado. Captured his first state title after falling three times by one run in the finals
Class 4A-1A All-Tribune second team
Player School Yr. Pos. Comment
Heath Nichols Queen Creek Sr. P Went 7-5 with 3.01 ERA, 5 complete games
Bryan Karraker Pinnacle Jr. OF Hit .394, 33 R, 8 SB, 21 RBI
Gregory Paddock Coolidge Jr. SS/P Hit .520 with 4 HR, 1.42 ERA
Justin McDavid Higley Sr. C Hit .440 with 4 HR, 24 RBI
Jason Demore Fountain Hills Sr. SS Hit .480 with 4 HR, 42 RBI
Tyler Bair Coronado Sr. OF Hit .398 with 8 HR, 45 RBI
Craig Kinneberg Notre Dame Sr. P Went 8-3 with a 2.51 ERA
Casey Lytle Chaparral Sr. OF Hit .437 with 4 HR, 37 RBI
Xorge Carrillo McClintock Sr. C Cannon arm, hit .460 with 26 RBI
Casey Reynolds Arcadia Sr. OF Hit .452,
East Sky Region Co-POY David Blasi Valley Christian Sr. SS 2nd among area 4A-2A batters at .590
Mike Sokol Saguaro Sr. 3B Hit .484 with 26 RBI
Class 4A-1A honorable mention
Arcadia: Joey DiMichele, So., IF; Tommy DiMichele, Sr., IF.
Cactus Shadows: Matt Summers, Jr., OF; Zach Wilhelmi, Sr. IF.
Coolidge: Charlie Garrett, So., IF.
Coronado: Bryan Dunlavey, So., P; Colby Eaton, Sr.; Justin Laurent, Sr., IF.
Chaparral: Cody Yount, Jr., P/IF; Zak Hayden, Sr., P.
Florence: Seth Kuhlman, So., OF.
Fountain Hills: Kyle Harless, Jr., IF; Ryan Guy, Sr., P.
Higley: Jeff Giangregorio, Sr., P; David Pedersen, Fr., OF.
McClintock: Dan Milner, Sr., DH; Mark Anderson, Sr., IF; Kyle Heckathorn, Sr., P.
Notre Dame: Kyle Conroy, Jr., P.
Pinnacle: Justin Winters, So., IF; Ashton McCoy, So., IF.
Queen Creek: Brock Fultz, Sr., IF; Josh Fultz, So. IF.
Saguaro: Devin Thaut, Jr., IF.
Tempe: Jordan Wilson, So., OF.