Southridge beats Westview to knot up the standings

by: JAIME VALDEZ - Southridge senior Reza Aleaziz is greeted by teammates at home plate after hitting a grand slam in the sixth inning against the Wildcats at Westview High School.ROCK CREEK — Metro League baseball supremacy was on the line when Southridge traveled to Westview High School on Tuesday.

The Skyhawks came out swinging, getting 11 hits and three home runs on their way to a 11-2 blowout victory.

“Lately we haven’t been getting ahead early in the game,” Southridge coach Joe Monahan said. “We got that first run and got a little bit loose there.”

With the win, Southridge moved to 11-9 on the season and to 8-2 in the Metro League. Westview dropped to 14-5 overall and 8-2 in the Metro League, putting the teams in a tie for the top spot in the league standings.

Southridge senior pitcher Reza Aleaziz earned the win, going the distance allowing six hits and two runs, both earned.

“My fastball was pretty good,” Aleaziz said. “Coming out of the bullpen, I was throwing pretty well, and I tried to attack them.”

Westview pitcher Connor Zwetsch got the loss, allowing 10 hits and 11 runs, all earned, in 6 2/3 innings.

“It was right there, and it got away from us late,” Westview coach Steve Antich said. “More power to them. They’re a good baseball club, and they did what they needed to do today. They played a little more relaxed.”

In the top of the second inning, Southridge catcher Tanner Green led off with a single. A batter later, Green was driven home by Bryce Roesch’s line drive single in the right field gap, to give Southridge a 1-0 lead.

Designated hitter Parker Stedham then got a 1-2 fastball down the middle of the plate. Stedham sat on the pitch and hammered a two-run homer over the left field wall to give Southridge a 3-0 lead.

“I got down in the count pretty early,” Stedham said. “I looked at two strikes on a couple of fastballs. I was looking to either react to a curveball or jump on a fastball if it was right there. The fastball was right there. I tried to make decent contact, and I smashed it.”

Westview went hitless through the first 3 and 2/3 innings. The Wildcats finally got something going with two outs in the bottom of the fourth. Westview third baseman Shane Suyama punched a line drive single over the head of Southridge’s shortstop. Zwetsch then hit a bomb to leftfield that bounced off the wall to put runners on second and third. But, Aleaziz struck out the final batter of the inning to head back to the dugout unscathed.

The Wildcats got onto the board an inning later.

Westview right fielder Jeremy Erisman was hit by a pitch with one out. With two outs, leadoff hitter Tyler Niles drove a shot into the left-center field gap. Erisman came around to score, and Niles coasted into second base for a standup double. Second baseman Ray Ayo then hit a ball back up the box, past Aleaziz. Niles scored from second, and Southridge’s lead was cut to 3-2.

Southridge caught a break, though, when Westview catcher Kyle Henderson hit a ball to the right field warning track. The Southridge right fielder was able to haul the ball in and end the inning.

In the top of the sixth inning, Southridge loaded the bases with no outs. Zwetsch struck out the next two batters, which brought Aleaziz to the plate. Zwetsch tried to sneak a 1-0 fastball past Aleaziz, and he was punished for it. Aleaziz crushed the ball over the center field wall for a grand slam that put Southridge up 7-2.

“He came out starting me off with a slider down in the dirt,” Aleaziz said. “I was guessing fastball. I got a good bat on the ball, and luckily, it went out.”

In the top of the seventh, Southridge shortstop Jacob Zanon added an insurance run with a leadoff homer over the left field wall that made the score 8-2.

Roesch finally chased Zwetsch from the game with a two-out triple that drove in two runs and made the game 10-2. Aleaziz then closed the book on Zwetsch when he singled Roesch in to make the score 11-2.

The teams were scheduled to play the second game of their series Wednesday at Southridge. Results of that game weren’t available when the Valley Times went to press. The series will conclude today (Thursday) with a 4:45 p.m. game at Westview.

Antich is confident his team will be able to bounce back from the tough loss.

“We know we can play baseball,” Antich said. “We’ll hope we hit better. It’s going to be two whole new games. You don’t get to carry runs over. We know that better than anybody. We’ve played a lot of really good games this year, and we feel like we’re a pretty good ball club. If we come out and play our brand of baseball the next two days, I like our chances.”

Monahan said the Skyhawks are looking at the series against the Wildcats as if it is the playoffs.

“Last week we won on Tuesday (against Jesuit) and then dropped two right after that,” Monahan said. “We look at this as though this is our championship week. If we want to make a run in the state playoffs, we’ve got to win three in that first week, and that’s how we’re approaching this.”

On Tuesday, Westview will open a three-game series with Sunset when it hosts the Apollos in a game starting at 4:45 p.m. Southridge will travel to Aloha Tuesday for the first game of a three-game series.

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