MERIDIAN - The wind churned before the start of the 5A District Three third-place baseball game Wednesday afternoon.
After the first inning, the gusts felt like twisters for Mountain View High.
After splitting the regular-season series with a pair of one-run games, Rocky Mountain batted its order plus three, plastered seven runs in the bottom of the first, and qualified as the No. 3 seed for the state tournament with a 10-0 win against the Mavericks in five innings at Mountain View High.
"I think the play in the first inning, where we got the double play, kind of took their flow away from them a little bit," Grizzlies coach Jake Taylor said. "Then we came out bangin' the ball - I certainly didn't see this coming. We'll take it; Mountain View is a great team and I expect them to rebound."
The Mavericks will play Friday with another opportunity to secure the fourth and final state spot. They will meet the winner between Vallivue and Timberline at 6 p.m. at Meridian High.
Rocky Mountain pitcher Rob Christianson faced the minimum (15 batters), which Taylor described as "absolutely absurd." Christianson struck out two and delivered countless groundballs, which the Grizzlies capitalized on with four double plays in the first four innings.
"We were hungry. We've been playing really good ball lately. Our team has been playing for each other," Rocky's Jarett Thoren said. "(We're) really dangerous. I think with that type of mentality - 15 guys and five coaches, all together, with a collective goal - I think that's a really hard team to beat."
Thoren finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Both hits occurred in the first inning, forcing Mountain View to reach into its bullpen after four hits, two errors and two batters hit by pitches.
"I think we were trying to simplify our approaches, especially with the wind," Thoren said. "We really did a good job of executing that."
Ryan Beard (two-run RBI double) and Matt Roll (RBI single) helped balloon the cushion in the first, while Isaiah Johnson and Seth Reisbeck chipped in RBI sacrifices in later innings.
"I think the great part about the SIC is the district tournament hardens you for the state tournament," Taylor said. "I'm not bad-mouthing anybody from the east or the north, but I think everybody understands there are so many competitive teams down here."
Trevor Phibbs: 377-6424, Twitter: @IDS_Phibbs