The Marana Tigers baseball team came back from an early 3-0 deficit to defeat the Mountain View Mountain Lions 7-6 in an eight-inning stretch.
With early, spot-on pitching by Mountain View’s Austin Moore and Marana’s Kelton Vieux, the game went scoreless until the bottom of the second. With bases loaded and two outs, Mountain View’s Austin Cooper connected with Vieux’s fastball to send Graham Spraker and Brandon Hyatt home.
Next at bat, Moore collected an RBI when his hit sent Cecil Fuentes to home plate. A fly ball by Ruben Lerma led to Mountain View’s third out, with the score at 3-0 going into the third inning.
Marana’s Tanner Reeves was walked, and would eventually score after a hit to left field by Elijah Callahan sent him running. The game would remain 3-1 in Mountain View’s favor until the fifth inning, when Marana took its first lead of the game.
Trevor Steinmehl advanced to first base after a ball got loose behind the plate, and then to second base after another hit by Callahan.
With Garrett Lawley up to bat, another ball got loose behind the Mountain View plate, advancing Callahan and Steinmehl to second and third base respectively. Lawley then came up with a big hit to send Callahan and Steinmehl home, tying the score at 3-3. Lawley would eventually score as well, closing the top of the fifth inning at 4-3 in Marana’s favor. Reeves came up with a big defensive play in the bottom of the fifth, diving to save a ground ball and throwing the Mountain View runner out at first to help Marana maintain the lead.
“That was probably one of the biggest plays I’ve ever made,” said Reeves.
Mountain View rallied in the sixth inning to regain the lead at 5-4 when Jerry Teague and Devon McPeek rounded the bases after Fuentes and Cooper connected at bat.
Entering the final inning with a one-run deficit, Marana answered the challenge at hand by scoring two runs in the top of the seventh when a big hit to left field by Vieux sent Austin Henderson and Callahan home.
“That was a big play,” said Reeves. “That play had us thinking we can win this,” said Reeves.
Mountain View looked hopeful to pull off the win in the bottom of the seventh with bases loaded, but only managed to tie the game at 6-6 off a run from Marcos Mcmillon to send the game to an extra inning.
Going into the eighth inning, Marana coach Brian Johnson said he let the game rest on the player’s shoulders.
“I didn’t give them any pep talks,” he said. “I let them know this is their team, and they take that responsibility. I give them the blueprints and expectations, and they carry it out.”
In the top of the eighth, Wyatt Nale earned a single for the Tigers, and followed it up by stealing second base. Reeves then earned a base hit, and Steinmehl was walked to load the bases with one out. Callahan answered the calling for the Tigers by connecting at bat to earn Nale the run, and give the Tigers a 7-6 lead before collecting three outs.
The bottom of the eighth was unkind to the Mountain Lions, as they earned three quick outs and an ejection of Moore after throwing his bat to the ground and nearly hitting players in the Marana dugout.
With the win, the Marana Tigers advance to 7-2 on the season, and the Mountain Lions move to 6-2. Johnson said he is looking forward to the remainder of the season.
“This is a team that believes,” he said. “They work hard in the off-season, and that hard work is paying off.”