Mesa, AZ - Good teams win during the playoffs because unlikely hero's step up and make big plays. That's exactly what Ben Lewis did for the Mesa Thunderbirds Saturday afternoon as he helped the T-Birds advance to the Region I-DII Championship Series with a 9-3 victory.
In the fourth, it was Lewis again who double to right field with runner's on second and third that pushed Mesa's lead to 4-1. On the day, Lewis was 2-4 with four RBI's.
Lewis would soon cross the plate himself when Cameron Cruz launched a two run homer over the left field fence to give Mesa a 6-1 lead. Two batter's later, Kody Funderburk hit his second homer of the series, a solo shot to right center field, making it a 7-1 game. Joshua Brown on the day went 3-3 with a walk, scoring two of Mesa's runs.
Mesa's starting pitcher Nick Bonniksen had a solid outing on the mound, throwing seven strong innings, allowing seven hits and one earned run. He struck out seven while allowing just one walk. He did a nice job pitching out of trouble in the sixth, while with the bases loaded, he pitched into a 6-4-3 doulble-play to end the inning.
The T-Birds would add two more runs in the later innings and Jake Suddreth finished the final two innings on the mound to solidify the T-Bird victory.
Mesa will now play #15 Phoenix College in the Championship Series at the Mesa Baseball Complex next Thursday, Friday and if necessary, Saturday. Thursday and Friday will be 3 pm first pitch starts and Saturday will be a noon start.