Greenway no longer green, wins Best of West tourney
Originally published: Mar 21, 2013 - 12:00 am
Of the 11 players Greenway fielded during the Best of the West baseball final, only one was a senior, starting pitcher Michael Nester, a reliever on short rest who got the start in the biggest game of the season for the team.
It was a lineup that had failure written all over it, but Greenway is no longer green. It’s a team with a bunch of players who are playing with a confidence beyond their years this season.
The young squad kept rolling Wednesday after upending division rival Sunrise Mountain 7-2 in the 13th annual Best of the West championship game. Winning six tournament games in five days, including a victory over the tournament’s host in the title game, boosted Greenway’s record to 15-1.
(Greenway's baseball team)
After winning one of the bigger early season baseball tournaments and defeating defending Division II champ in a regular season game, it’s safe to say that Greenway is a state title contender this year.
“I think if we can keep playing with the same intensity we’ve been playing with, I don’t think we can be beat,” Greenway junior captain Payton Squier said.
Squier was one of seven sophomores that started last year for Greenway.
On Wednesday, seven of the team’s junior starters each tallied at least one hit. But it was a sophomore, Alejo Lopez (3 for 3 with a walk), who was the only Greenway player who got on base every time.
Lopez is new to the team and was batting .565. The two pitchers Greenway used Wednesday at Sunrise Mountain, Nestor, and sophomore Cody Fisher, scattered six hits, including only one extra base hit.
Sunrise Mountain (12-4) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning but left two runners in scoring position in that inning and also left the bases loaded in the third inning. That allowed Greenway to take the lead for good in the fourth inning after No. 9 hitter Zane Butts hit a two-out RBI single to give his team a 3-2 lead.
A two RBI triple by Lopez, an RBI single by Squier and a RBI single by Cole Anderson scored the final runs in the game for Greenway.
“This is the first time during the season that we played well for seven innings during a good stretch,” Greenway coach Matt Denny said.
Denny credited a weight training program that first-year assistant coach Seth Melton runs for helping Greenway flex its muscles on the field this season. Melton has coached in Arizona for 14 seasons. “The kids have really bought in (to the weight training program),” Melton said. “They see the results. The long term goal is to be good, strong physical athletes.” Greenway’s conditioning will be put to the test again next week when it plays eight games in five days during a tournament. … Squier’s brother, Scott, a former All-State player for Greenway, is currently the University of Hawaii’s No. 1 pitcher. … Despite Wednesday’s championship loss, Sunrise Mountain coach Eric Gardner was pleased with his team’s performance during the Best of the West tournament. Sunrise Mountain was in a bit of a “tailspin” before the tournament started, but Gardner said his team regrouped during the tournament and played good defense. “We’ve shown vast improvement,” Gardner said. … Sunrise Mountain infielder John Drago was recently accepted at MIT. … Brick Paskiewicz struck out 12 batters and gave up just two hits to help Sunrise Mountain beat Best of the West two-time defending champ Yukon Oklahoma 4-1 in the semifinals.