’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 30

Boys Golf (3 p.m.)

Mountain View at Haven Golf Course

Ironwood Ridge, Buena, Catalina at Rincon (Dell Urich)

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

Marana at CDO

Maricopa at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Vista Grande

Poston Butte at Catalina Foothills

San Miguel at Pusch Ridge

Freshman Football (6 p.m.)

Maricopa at Marana

Wednesday, October 1

Girls Golf (3 p.m.)

Mountain View vs. Ironwood Ridge (Omnu Tucson National)

CDO, Sunnyside at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Sabino at Catalina Foothills

Cross Country (4:30 p.m.)

Ironwood Ridge, Sahuarita at Flowing Wells (Columbus Park)

Marana, St. Gregory at Catalina Foothills

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

CDO at Ironwood Ridge

Freshman Football (6 p.m.)

Mountain View at Salpointe

Catalina Foothills at CDO

JV Football (6.p.m.)

Marana at Maricopa

Salpointe at Mountain View

CDO at Catalina Foothills

Thursday, October 2

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Mountain View, St. Gregory’s, Pusch Ridge at Marana

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

Mountain View at Poston Butte

Catalina Foothills at Flowing Wells

Pusch Ridge at Willcox

Varsity Football (7p.m.)

Maricopa at Marana

Mountain View at Salpointe

Catalina Foothills @ CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Rincon

Friday, October 3

Boys Golf (all day)

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Santa Rita/Flowing Wells Invitational

Girls Vollyeball (all day)

CDO, Catalina Foothills at Falcon Invitational

Cross Country

Catalina Foothills, CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Desert Twilight Festival

Varsity Footbal (7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at San Tan Valley

Saturday, October 4

Boys Golf (all day)

CDO at Santa Rita/Flowing Wells Invitational

Swimming (all day)

Catalina Foothills, CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Brophy/Xavier Swim Invitational

Girls Volleyball (4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Desert Christian

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