The same young and relatively inexperienced team that started the season for Corona’s baseball team seems to have been quick learners since the Aztecs are currently ranked No. 5 in the 6A conference with a 13-4 season record heading into the last month of regular season play and recently placed third at the Boras Classic of Arizona 2018 held in mid-March.
“The outcome of the Boras Classis was no surprise to this team,” said head coach Dave Webb. “They don’t think, look or play like they are young and inexperienced. Sometimes, I think the coaches are the only ones who look at our group and wonder if our players know how good they really are.”
Corona started the Boras Classic on fire, March 14, defeating Skyridge, from Lehi, UT, utilizing the 10-run mercy rule when junior Bryan Kalmer’s homerun gave the Aztecs a 10-run lead or a score of 11-1 ending the game at the 6th inning.
Daniel Sotelo, Matt Novis, Luke Eno and Bryan Webb each scored one run while. Cade Verdusco, Nick Pareti and Eric Weidner each scored two runs against Skyridge.
Corona then went on to beat Catalina Foothills by a score of 12-1 on March 15 in the second round.
Highlights included a home run and a double by sophomore Hunter Haas who scored one run on two hits batting in four RBI’s and junior Jack Schobinger batting 1.000 with two hits on two appearances at bat and three RBI’s.
Besides strikeouts, the Aztecs as a team put out 15 batters on defense against Catalina Foothills. Sophomore Ben Click had two putouts and one assist with no errors.
In the semifinals. March 16, Corona played Basic, a high school out of Henderson, NV.
Corona ended up losing to Basic, 3-2, in a hard-fought defensive battle that went into extra innings when the game tied at 1-1 at the end of seven innings. The teams had to play four extra innings before Basic was able to get up one run and thus win the game.
The loss to Basic bumped the Aztecs into the loser’s bracket where they defeated Sunrise Mountain, 7-2, on March 17 to earn third place out of 16 teams.
The Aztecs put together a 3-1 winning streak after the Boras Classic outscoring their opponents 31-5 by defeating Mountain Ridge, 14-2, on March 24, Desert Mountain, 3-0, on March 27 and Desert Ridge, 14-1, on March 29, after losing to Mountain View, 2-0, on March 20.
Corona came out swinging against Mountain Ridge scoring 12 runs in the first inning alone. Kalmer hit a home run and was credited with two hits, the other one a double, on three appearances scoring two runs and four RBI’s.
Junior Wyatt Berry also had two hits on three appearances at bat and was credited with scoring two runs and two RBI’s while Haas continued his hot hitting by getting three hits on three appearances batting 1.000, scoring two runs and with two RBI’s.
The other runs against Mountain Ridge were scored by Sotelo, Schobinger, Novis, senior Cohlton Kieffer, Pareti, Verdusco and Webb, who scored two runs.
Novis pitched 4.2 innings allowing nine hits and two runs while striking out eight batters to be credited with the win against Mountain Ridge.
On defense, junior catcher Seth Pagetta was two for two in putout attempts.
In the Aztec 3-0 win over Desert Mountain, it was defense and pitching that was the difference in the game. Corona committed no errors putting out 21 batters.
Catcher Schobinger was seven for seven in putouts while junior Sotelo had four putouts and a double play.
“Wyatt Berry at second base and Hunter Haas at shortstop are, in my opinion, the best defensive middle infield in the state,” said Webb. “Between them in 17 games, they have committed only one error.”
Berry had three putouts, two assists and a double play against Desert Mountain while juniors Aaron Garcia and Austin Carpenter each had one putout.
“Our center fielder, Cade Verdusco, gets amazing jumps on balls and seems to run everything down in the outfield,” said Webb.
Against the Wolves, Verdusco was two for two in putouts and Webb, on the pitching mound, had two putouts and three assists
“All three of our starting pitchers have been dominant,” said coach Webb. “Senior Matt Novis, junior Daniel Sotelo and sophomore Bryan Webb have amassed just a 1.70 team ERA.,”
Against the Wolves, sophomore Bryan Webb pitched six innings allowing only two hits and no run while striking out six batters.
“My son Bryan, has a .33 ERA in 19 innings pitched to date,” said Webb.
Against Desert Ridge, senior Novis hit 1.000 with two hits on two times at bat and was credited with four RBI’s while Verdusco hit .750 with three hits scoring two runs and was credited with three RBI’s.
“Bryan Kalmer, Hunter Haas and Matt Novis are lighting it up offensively for us,” said coach Webb. “All three of them are hitting over .450 and have so far been consistent throughout the season.”
Kalmer leads the team in hitting percentage, hits, runs, RBI’s and homeruns with a .553 average, 26 hits, 20 runs, 26 RBI’s and six homeruns so far on the season. Kalmer has also hit eight doubles and two triples.
Novis is not too far behind with a.457 average, 23 hits, 16 runs, 20 RBI’s and one homerun while Haas is hitting .457 with 21 hits, 16 runs, 14 RBI’s and one homerun.
On defense against Desert Ridge, senior Teddy Ladley was three for three in putouts.
Other members of the team who contribute on an off the field include sophomores Ulises Jimenez, Kaiden Frees and David Utagawa plus junior Matteo Baker.
Corona was scheduled to play at home against Gilbert on April before playing No. 4 ranked Desert Vista on April 4 at Chase Field.
Up next the Aztecs were scheduled to pay at Gilbert April 5 and then at Desert Vista April 6.
Marcos de Niza Baseball
The Padres are 13-8, 2-1 in their section, but have won eight out of their last 10 games. With six games left in the regular season, they have a good chance to improve their 4A Conference No. 11 ranking before the state playoffs.
Two of their games, April 5 and April 11, are against Higley who is ranked No. 23 in the 4A Conference then they play at Casa Grande ranked No. 24 on April 10 and at Tempe on April 17.
The most challenging game should be the one at home April 6 against currently ranked No. 3 Seton Catholic. The Sentinels are currently 15-1.
The last game will be against Yuma at home where they will honor their seniors Nick Leach, Max L’Heureux, Kevin Dunnahoo, Adam Sebastian, Michael Rosales, JP Patterson, Tyler Daraban and Eric Oden.
The Aztecs, led by nine seniors, are 15-6 and currently ranked No. 6 in the 6A Conference heading into the last month of play.
Two seniors, Jessica Lynch and Mikaeli Davidson, have been stellar on the pitching mound with Lynch credited pitching 63 innings is credited for six wins with an ERA of 2.78 while Davidson pitching in 58.2 innings is credited with four wins and a 3.46 ERA.
Senior Caleigh Tilden-Long, playing in all 20 games, leads the team with 32 hits scoring 32 runs and 17 RBI’s with a .485 batting average but close behind is senior Bailey Sejnoha who has only played in 11 games but has 12 runs on 10 hits and is batting .556.
Lynch and Davidson have both scored three home runs with Lynch playing in all 20 games hitting .383 scoring 13 runs on 23 hits with 25 RBI’s. Davidson has played in 18 games scoring 11 runs and 16 RBI’s on 24 hits with three doubles and three home runs.
Leading the team in home runs is junior Zoey Joshlin with four home runs and three doubles playing in 19 games hitting .455 scoring 16 runs with 22 RBI’s on 25 hits.
Sophomore Summer Duran and junior Reyna Mori have both scored two home runs while senior Olivia Miller leads the team in stolen bases with 11 stolen bases while playing in 15 games.
Mori leads the team in putouts with 89 putouts and 4 assists on 97 attempts in 19 games giving her a .959 fielding percentage. Junior Ally Quintero has 32 putouts and 12 assists on 50 attempts.
Sophomore Sierra Fuchs has a .920 fielding percentage playing in 15 games while junior Ariana Marquez-Yniguez has a .818 fielding percentage in 15 games.
Senior Nicole Neumann has played in 19 games scoring 13 runs on 14 hits with a fielding average of .714 while fellow senior Sydney Johnson has a 1.000 fielding percentage playing in six games.
Seniors Alyssa Baca and Cassidee Wax have contributed off the bench along with sophomore Jada Wendling, who has three runs on three hits with two RBI’s and a double and junior Alexis Massie.