PHOENIX - Ironwood Ridge has been making a name for itself with big bats all season.

Tuesday was no different.

This time, though, eight runs simply were not enough.

The Nighthawks gave up 10 runs to Tempe Marcos de Niza in the fourth inning of a 5A-II state tournament elimination game, and their comeback came up short in a 10-8 loss at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

I-Ridge averaged just over eight runs per game this year and ended the season 21-11.

"Obviously, I think that we lost that game more than we got beat, and that's disappointing," Ironwood Ridge coach Jason Hisey said. "Any game, you want to get beat. You don't want to lose. And I think that's going to be a tough one."

The Nighthawks took a 2-0 lead in the third, and starting pitcher Kyle Petty was working on a perfect game.

But things quickly unraveled.

Petty gave up a two-run homer with one out in the fourth, which turned out to be the least of his worries.

After a strikeout, Petty forced a pop-up, but an I-Ridge error kept the ball in play.

Using a burst of momentum from the error, de Niza unleashed a string of singles that resulted in a 6-2 lead with the bases loaded before Petty was removed. Tyler Buntrock then allowed four more runs to score before the nightmare ended.

But I-Ridge would not lay down. The Nighthawks quickly responded with five hits, four runs, two walks and a passed ball in the bottom half.

Another run scored in the fifth when Brandon Matthews' sacrifice to right-center scored Jake Matthews from third.

The score then was 10-7.

"Ten runs is a big hill to climb," Hisey said. "I thought if we could tack on a couple in the sixth, cut it to one or two, it would have made the job a little easier in the seventh."

Instead, de Niza retired the side in the fifth, forcing I-Ridge to do it all in the final frame.

A seventh-inning, one-out double from Zach Sweety scored Clay Matthews, narrowing the gap to two and bringing the tying run to the plate, but I-Ridge failed to get another run across.


Salpointe Catholic's season ended one game shy of the Pool A finals.

The No. 8 seeded Lancers fell to No. 4 Gilbert 7-6 at Camelback Ranch-Glendale Stadium on Tuesday night.

Salpointe owned a 6-4 lead entering the bottom of the seventh. That's when Gilbert loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a poorly executed defensive play on a bunt.

A single brought Gilbert within one run, then another flair hit over second base with the infield drawn-in scored two runs and sent the higher seed into the next round

"The seniors put Salpointe (23-9) back on the map," said coach Danny Preble. "It was a really solid group and a sad way for them to end. They carried us and they left a good path for the underclassmen to follow."