Nighthawks taking control with win over Marana - The Explorer: Sports

Nighthawks taking control with win over Marana

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Posted: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 4:00 am

Winning the Cowboy up Baseball Invitational earlier in the year, and defeating rival Canyon Del Oro, 18-6, seemed like good building blocks for the Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks baseball team (8-2) in their quest to go deep into the 2013 playoffs.

Their latest challenge was hosting a Marana Tigers team (7-3) that had won six straight coming into April 5. 

Even though the bats had an off day, the Nighthawks triumphed over the Tigers, 7-4.

Sophomore Jesus Ramerez provided his first complete game, as he kept the Tigers’ bats off stride and held them to just one run in six innings, before he weakened in the seventh.

The Nighthawks gave Ramerez an early lead, as Ryan Neter hit a two-run home run for a 2-0 lead in the second. In the third, the Nighthawks added two more. After a single by Frankie Ortiz and a walk to hitter Jake Matthews, Devin Harrison ripped a two-run double to make it 4-0.

The turning point probably came in Marana's third inning. Trailing only 2-0 at the time, it seemed like the perfect time to play small ball, so first-year coach Erinn McManus put on the bunt sign. Eli Callahan and Wyatt Nale each laid down perfect bunts. Callahan's was to the right of the pitcher, while Nale's was placed between the pitcher and first baseman and allowed him to reach easily. After a walk to Travis Howard, the Tigers had the bases loaded with two outs, but Ramerez induced a clutch groundout to get out of trouble.

The momentum totally shifted to Ironwood, as the Nighthawks moved out to a 6-0 lead after that.

The Tigers finally broke through and scored in the fifth. Callahan walked and stole second. Kt Vieux singled him home to make it 6-1, before a line drive out by Howard ended the inning. Callahan now has 14 stolen bases on the season.

Strong defense, particularly in the infield, kept the Tigers in the game, and would give them a shot at the end.

"We'd won six in a row," McManus said. "Our defense kept us in all the games."

Mario Pacheco came out of the bullpen and threw smoke, as he held the Nighthawks to one hit and a single run in two innings. He struck out one, and allowed a run on a triple by Harrison and a sacrifice fly by Trey Stine. Pacheco has more strikeouts than innings pitched this year.

"Pitching is our biggest strength," McManus said. "Starting and relieving. We have so many guys who can pitch. This may be the best hitting team we've faced this year."

In their 10 non-tournament games, it was only the third time the Nighthawks have been held to less than 12 runs.

The Nighthawks took a 7-1 lead into the seventh, but closing out the game wouldn't be easy.

Pacheco lined a single down the left-field line. Chris Tweedy attempted to beat out a bunt, and sacrificed the runner to second. Callahan erased the lead runner, and after reaching second base, hurt himself and had to leave the game.

Wyatt Nale extended the game with a two-out single. Then, Vieux blasted a three-run home run to make it 7-4.

A fly out to right-field ended the drama.

"Marana has definitely improved," Harrison said. "We had some good timely hitting."

For the Nighthawks, their push to a playoff run continues this week on Thursday, April 11 when they travel to Cholla.

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)


Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions


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