Mountain Vista baseball coach Ron Quintana likes to schedule tough non-league games to get his team prepared to compete in the Continental League.
The Golden Eagles, who defeated Dakota Ridge 8-2 in an April 2 game at Mountain Vista wrapped up the non-league portion of their schedule with a 5-4 win April 5 at Brighton.
“The league is always tough,” said Quintana whose team enters league play with a 7-1 record. “That's why we play good play teams like Dakota and Brighton. We always try to play Creek. We are always trying to get better.”
Mountain Vista won four games in the Coach Bob Invitational tournament in Phoenix and the Golden Eagles only loss came in the season opener against Cherry Creek.
“We lost to Creek in the Elite Eight last season,” continued Quintana. “A week later this group had a team meeting and I knew then that it was going to be a good group and it was going to be fun. When guys want to win and play for each other, it's fun.
“Last year we had some talent. We had a good senior group. This year we have a better group overall. The kids get along, they do stuff together, hang out, they are willing to go to battle for each other. That's huge. We have great leadership.”
After eight games, Mountain Vista was hitting .372 as a team led by senior Brian Froechtenigt who hit eighth in the lineup against Dakota Ridge. Froechtenigt is hitting .643.
Junior second baseman Marc Mumper is hitting .455 and junior catcher Brady Subart, a basketball standout who wears prescription goggles when he plays, is hitting .435. Senior shortstop Jack Strunc has chipped in with a .500 average.
Dakota Ridge starting pitcher Jake Stecki silenced the Golden Eagle bats in the April 2 game and had a perfect game for 3 1/3 innings until Mumper sparked a five-run uprising with a drag bunt down the third base line.
“He had a perfect game,” said Mumper who made two outstanding leaping defensive plays to snare line drives during the game. “He was throwing so slow. He was good; he was on. He was beating us so I just thought I might as well change it up.
“So I tried to get a bunt down and get something going. Even if I'm out I still thought I'd have a chance to get something going and change up his rhythm a little bit. We got going a little bit after that.”
Subart beat out an infield hit to keep the inning alive and has 11 of his team-leading 14 runs batted in during the past four games.
“I just had to get back into the swing of things and just get into a routine,” explained Subart. “It was a struggle at first after basketball until we played down in Arizona. Once we got through the first two days in Arizona it was all right.”
Senior right-hander Nick Leonard scattered four hits and struck out 14 batters to earn his third win of the season in the game against Dakota Ridge.
“I don't think of myself as a strikeout pitcher,” said Leonard who throws a fastball, splitter and curve. “My main focus is to try and get ground balls and pop-ups and let my defense work around me. When strikeouts come it's just an added bonus.”
Leonard has been getting a lot of bonuses this season. He has recorded 14 strikeouts in two separate games and has fanned a total of 31 batters in 23 innings pitched while compiling a 0.61 earned run average.
“We're getting into our season now,” he said. “We're starting to come along. Everyone is hitting the ball, we're playing good defense and all of all our pitchers are doing well.”
Mountain Vista opened league play April 7 against Highlands Ranch.