GLENDALE - Facing elimination, the Salpointe Catholic baseball team bounced back from its loss Saturday with a convincing 10-2 win over top-seeded Peoria Sunrise Mountain at Camelback Ranch Stadium on Tuesday.
The Lancers were strong in every facet of the game, stringing together hits and playing defense behind pitcher Ben Scherer, who pitched a complete game and struck out six.
Scherer's most impressive inning came in the bottom of the second, when the Mustangs loaded the bases with no outs. Scherer retired the next three batters, forcing two to fly out and striking out another without allowing a run to come in.
"Defensively and offensively the team backed me up really well," Scherer said. "(Forest) Chapman had that diving catch at the end of the second that bailed me out. That's like the third time he's done that."
Salpointe opened up the scoring in the third when it put together five straight hits, highlighted by Michael Hoard and Hunter Miller's back-to-back doubles. Then, with two outs and two runners on, catcher Colby Quist hit a grounder that found its way through the Mustangs shortstop, scoring two runs and capping the five-run inning in which all nine batters came to the plate.
Sunrise Mountain scored two in the fifth, but the Lancers responded with four in the sixth, pushing their lead to 9-2. Ryan Penaflor started the inning with a single to left field but made his way to third after the fielder let the ball through his legs. After a Kevin Brice single scored Penaflor, the Lancers loaded the bases and scored three more runs.
From that point on, Scherer didn't give the Mustangs a chance, retiring the final six batters he faced.
Quist finished the scoring in the top of the seventh with his solo homer over the 380-foot sign in left field.
"We were seeing the ball a lot better today," Hoard said. "We had a good practice yesterday, and it felt like it carried over into today's game."
Salpointe will face Peoria Liberty at Phoenix Municipal Stadium at 4 p.m. Thursday. Although it's another elimination game, the Lancers don't mind.
"They play well when their backs are against the wall," Salpointe coach Danny Preble said about his players. "We've done that all year, where we'll have a bad game and it puts us in a bit of a bind, and they find a way to come back and play well."