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Sunrise Mountain's seventh-inning heroics stun Greenway

Posted 4/21/17

Sunrise Mountain's Tyler Pruitt (#6) hits for a single against Greenway Friday, April 21, 2017 at Greenway High School in Glendale. (Jacob Stanek/West Valley Preps)

Richard Smith

West Valley …

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Sunrise Mountain's seventh-inning heroics stun Greenway

Sunrise Mountain's Tyler Pruitt (#6) hits for a single against Greenway Friday, April 21, 2017 at Greenway High School in Glendale. (Jacob Stanek/West Valley Preps)

Richard Smith
West Valley Preps

For mose baseball teams, it would be the highlight of the season. For the 2017 Sunrise Mountain squad, Friday night was merely the latest comeback in a year full of them.

The Mustangs' postgame celebration revealed, though, that this one was a little more special. Sunrise Mountain dug a 6-0 hole in the first three innings and still trailed defending state champion Greenway 6-2 entering the seventh inning.

A pinch hit single by junior Trevor Pruitt and pinch hit double by senior Jacob Hamrick set the stage for senior Danny Partida and his rope to center field bounced past diving junior James Gamble to score both his teammates. Partida came home on and errant throw and the game was tied with no outs.

"I give a ton of credit to Trevor Pruitt and Hamrick coming in and getting big hits, Then Danny came in and got the clutch knock and he's battling through an injury," Sunrise Mountain Coach Eric Gardner said. "Our dugout and our kids are having a blast. They keep fighting. I was way more stressed than they were, and  they were giving me a hard time with that tonight."

From there two walks and an error loaded the bases and senior Kody Decker's double play ball was in the right spot to bring home the tie-breaking run. Dominant senior reliever Grant Dowty struck out the side to complete the improbable 7-6 Sunrise Mountain (22-5) victory.

"That's been (Grant) for three or four weeks now. He did it in California, throwing five innings of scoreless baseball against Bishop Amat. He's been our guy that we go to early if there's going to be a problem. We know we can count on him," Coach Gardner said.

Dowry's work may have prevented a double-digit deficit early. Three Mustang errors — and that may have been generous — led to four Greenway (15-11) runs in the first two innings.

The start had Coach Gardner warming up his "it's better to have a bad game in late April the in early May (the playoffs)." speech.

"Timmy didn't really flounder. We didn't play defense. We gave up four unearned runs and played choppy baseball," Coach Gardner said. "In the fourth inning I thought, 'well, we're doing this now.' But they never give in. They trust each other so much."

Senior starter Timmy Mendez gave up a single to senior Nicholas Pico and a double to senior Jacob Dominguez to bring on Dowty. Junior Michael McGraw and freshman Gerry Lopez hit bloops for Greenway RBIs.

But with the bases loaded, Dowty induced a fly ball to stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Demons' bats barely touched him after that, and struck out 12 in five innings of relief.

Sunrise Mountain head coach Eric Gardner watches as Grant Dowty (#8) warms up against Greenway Friday, April 21, 2017 at Greenway High School in Glendale. (Jacob Stanek/West Valley Preps)

"I've had those type of situations, bases loaded with no outs, before and I've gotten out of them. That was just another game. When I got in the dugout our team was fired up, getting out of a big inning like that," Dowty said. "

The visitors started chipping away. Sophomore catcher Ethan Snodgrass singled in the fourth and took second on an error. Trevor Pruitt ran for him, went to third on a grounder and scored on a two-out error.

But Sunrise Mountain did not really get to Lopez until the sixth when junior Tyler Pruitt and Snodgrass led off with singles. Junior E.J. Sun followed with an RBI single to left.

Pinch running for Snodgrass again, Trevor Pruitt again scored on an error to cut the deficit to 6-3 and set up the late heroics.

"This team's gone through a lot and we always find a way to come out of it. We're a brotherhood," Dowty said.