Coach Stan Luketich likes the way his Phoenix Desert Vista baseball team is swinging the bats.
It was easy to see why on Monday night (April 7), when the Thunder pounded out 20 hits, including 10 in an 11-run sixth inning, for a 17-3 victory over host Phoenix Brophy Prep in six innings (shortened by the 10-run rule).
“We are getting better every week,’’ Luketich said.
At this rate, the Thunder (15-5) might be hitting their stride at just the right time when the Division I state tournament rolls around next month. The school won state titles in the old Class 5A in 1999 and 2001 and was runner-up in 2000 under Luketich.
Desert Vista entered this week as the No.5 team in Arizona Interscholastic Association power points. Brophy (14-7) was No. 8.
Desert Vista had a 6-1 lead entering the bottom of the fifth. Brophy scored two runs and was threatening to pull closer before Luketich brought left-hander Garrison Schwartz on in relief. Schwartz promptly struck out the final two men of the inning to allow the Thunder to escape further trouble.
Then the floodgates opened. Schwartz and Keenan Bartlett had two hits in the inning as the Thunder sent 17 men to the plate.
Bartlett made a key defensive play in the third inning when he jumped to snare a bouncer that was just about to go over his head, stepped on second for a forceout and fired to first for an inning-ending double play.
Catcher Kyle Gibbs also came up big in the first two innings, throwing a man out at second who was trying to steal.
“Those were two key outs for us early in the game when the game was still close,’’ Luketich said.
The coach added that left-handed starting pitcher Isiah Deutsch competed well, keeping Brophy under control while Desert Vista was trying to build its lead. Brophy finished with eight hits, three by Ryan Castellani.