The first two innings weren’t kind to Desert Oasis starter Josh Sharman.
He walked the first two batters of the game and gave up a home run in each of the first two innings.
But Sharman saved his best for the end, pitching out of jams in the fifth and sixth innings, as the Diamondbacks defeated visiting Palo Verde 5-3 in a battle of the area’s top-ranked teams.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen him throw as many balls early on,” Desert Oasis coach Paul Buboltz said. “But I know what I’m going to get from Josh. He’s always going to keep us in the game no matter what. If he has his best stuff, it’s going to be phenomenal.”
Sharman wasn’t at his best, especially early. Paul Myro ripped a two-run home run to left in the first inning, and Hunter Chynoweth hit a solo homer in the second to make it 3-1.
But that was all Sharman allowed, and he stranded runners in scoring position in the fifth and sixth innings before giving way to Tyler Montoya, who threw a scoreless seventh to get a save.
“It was a big game and we were looking forward to it all fall,” Sharman said of playing the top-ranked Panthers (0-1), who won the Class 4A state title last season. “It was really fun playing against them.”
Desert Oasis (5-1) played some small ball to take the lead in the third, getting a walk and an infield single to start the inning. Sharman put down a sacrifice bunt but was safe when first baseman Jaden Agassi dropped the ball. Jacob Walsh hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game 3-3, and the go-ahead run came home on an RBI groundout by Colton Zobrist.
Aaron Roberts then crushed a solo homer to left-center field in the fifth to give the second-ranked Diamondbacks a two-run cushion. Roberts — 2-for-2 with a double — now is 12-for-16 with three doubles, a triple, five homers and 17 RBIs in six games this season.
“Any at-bat he can do something huge just like that,” Sharman said. “He’s been on fire. One of the hottest kids I’ve ever seen hit right now.”