’Hawks defeat Falcons - The Explorer: Sports

’Hawks defeat Falcons

New IRHS coach starts season on a high note

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Posted: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 6:00 am

It’s early in the season, but baseball coach Dennis Toia is proving he has the chops to fill the big shoes left by his predecessor.

Toia is this year’s coach of the Ironwood Ridge High School Nighthawks baseball team. Last year, under the watchful eye of coach Jason Hisey, the team won its first region title and a pair of playoff games.

Since then, Hisey has moved on to coach baseball at Pima Community College. Toia is using his experience as Hisey’s assistant for a year and before that, coaching in Kansas for 10 years, to maintain the momentum the team began in 2010.

The Nighthawks have high hopes under Toia, as they defeated Catalina Foothills High School Falcons, 9-2, last week. The Falcons were title game runners-up a year ago.

“I’m a Tucson boy who came home,” Toia said.

He’s not looking to make too much out of an early-season win, although it came against a powerhouse team like the Falcons.

“We could make a deep run this year,” Toia said, “but we want to take it one inning at a time.”

Last Tuesday, at Foothills, the Nighthawks were led by their 1-3 batters, Clay Matthews, Jake Matthews and Brandon Matthews.

Clay had two hits and Jake had two. Brandon pitched five strong innings, as he allowed just one run on three hits and struck out seven batters.

“We built momentum from last year’s (playoff run),” said Clay Matthews. “We’re a better team this year.”

The Nighthawks wasted no time as Clay Matthews opened the game with a triple, and later scored on a force play.

In fact, the Nighthawks scored in each of their first four innings, building a 5-1 lead entering the fifth.

Pitching was the biggest strength for the Nighthawks, a big change from their hit-and-miss throwing from a year ago. The team never had problems scoring runs; instead, keeping down the opposition kept them from challenging for a possible state title.

“We have a more consistent pitching staff,” Clay Matthews said. “They’re not afraid to go after people.”

During last week’s game, the Nighthawks put it away with four in the fifth. With two runners on, Travis Chavez singled home a run. Clay Matthews and Jake Matthews followed with run-scoring singles before an error brought in another run for a 9-1 Ironwood lead. Chavez finished with two hits from the ninth spot.

“Our pitching staff did a good job of keeping them off balance,” Toia said.

To follow the team this season, visit ridgebaseball.org.

E-mail editor@explorernews.com.

© 2014 The Explorer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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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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