’Hawks defeat Falcons - Tucson Local Media: 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.

© 2016 Tucson Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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HS Schedule


Aug. 21

Hamilton @ Ironwood Ridge

Rio Rico @ Marana

Catalina Foothills @ Desert Edge

Aug. 28

CDO @ Gilbert

Mountain View @ La Joya Community

Pueblo @ Catalina Foothills

Pusch Ridge @ Bisbee

Sep. 4

CDO @ Tucson High Magnet School

Westwood @ Ironwood Ridge

Horizon @ Mountain View

Marana @ Pueblo

Benson @ Pusch Ridge

Catalina Foothills @ Cienega

Sep. 11

CDO @ Sahuaro

Salpointe @Ironwood Ridge

Mountain View @ Sunnyside

Arcadia @ Marana

McClintock @ Catalina Foothills

Pusch Ridge @ Combs

Sep. 18

Cienega @ CDO

Ironwood Ridge @ Tucson High

Buena @ Mountain View

Marana @ Tempe

Catalina Foothills @ Rincon/University

Pusch Ridge @ Amphi

Sep. 25

Buena @ CDO

Sahuaro @ Ironwood Ridge

Mountain View at Cienega

Marana @ Catalina Foothills

Cholla @ Pusch Ridge

Oct. 2

CDO @ Ironwood Ridge

Queen Creek @ Mountain View

Nogales @ Marana

Catalina Foothills @ Safford

Sahuarita @ Pusch Ridge

Oct. 9

Poston Butte @ CDO

Ironwood Ridge @ Queen Creek

Shadow Ridge @ Mountain View

Marana @ Desert View

Nogales @ Catalina Foothills

Pusch Ridge @ Flowing Wells

Oct 16

CDO @ Queen Creek

Ironwood Ridge @ Marcos de Niza

Mountain View @ Poston Butte

Rincon/University @ Marana

Catalina Foothills @ Sabino

Pueblo @ Pusch Ridge

Oct. 23

Mountain View @ CDO

Poston Butte @ Ironwood Ridge

Marana @ Safford

Desert View @ Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove @ Pusch Ridge

Oct. 30

CDO @ Campo Verde 

Ironwood Ridge @ Mountain View

Sabino @ Marana

Pusch Ridge @ Rio Rico

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