Varsity Extra

One of Idaho’s best baseball teams ever? Mountain View makes its case with 5A title.

The Mountain View High baseball team will go down not just as one of the best teams in program history. The Mavericks made a case for themselves as one of the best in state history Saturday.

Mountain View routed Capital 19-2 in five innings at Memorial Stadium to win the first state title in program history. But the accomplishments didn’t stop there.

The Mavericks invoked the mercy rule in a 5A championship for the first time since 1999. Their 17-run victory was the largest in a 5A final since at least 1992, as far back as the Idaho Statesman’s records date. And they capped the tournament with a plus-29 run differential (33-2), which is also the largest since at least 1992.

[Related: 5A to 1A state tournament scores, brackets; Champions, records and other highlights from state track; Softball, tennis recaps]

“From the preseason poll to the final game of the year, everyone was saying we’re No. 1,” Mountain View senior catcher Charlie Tentinger said. “Well, we were going to prove we’re the No. 1 team. … It was our game, our title, our state.”

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Mountain View baseball coach Matt Rasmussen gives Riley Harrison a hug as he awards gold medals to his players after the Mavericks won their first state 5A baseball championship with a 19-2 win over Capital Saturday, May 18, 2019 at Memorial Stadium in Boise. Pitcher Riley Harrison was hit in the head by a line drive in the district championship game and is still recovering from the injury. Darin Oswald doswald@idahostatesman.com

Mountain View has carried heavy expectations since its Double-A American Legion team won a Northwest regional title and reached the Legion World Series last summer. The bulk of that team returned and made up a 15-member senior class. And with 10 players signed to play at a college program next season, Mountain View entered the season with the state’s most talented roster and a target on its back.

The Mavericks (27-2) lived up to the billing, setting a program record for wins and only losing to one Idaho team, Eagle, all season. Mountain View avenged that loss with a 9-2 win over Eagle in the state semifinals earlier Saturday.

“They didn’t get complacent,” Mountain View coach Matt Rasmussen said. “They didn’t get content. They worked hard. From the time we got back (from the summer), they took one month off and then they were back at it training and lifting and grinding.

“This is what they really wanted, and they got it today.”

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Mountain View outfielder Blake Jablonski stops a hit to left field during the Mavericks’ 19-2 state championship win over Capital Saturday, May 18, 2019 at Memorial Stadium in Boise. Darin Oswald doswald@idahostatesman.com

The Mavericks also overcame an emotional roller coaster after pitcher Riley Harrison took a line drive off his forehead last week in Game 2 of the district championship. The ball broke his temporal bone and caused a brain hemorrhage, forcing the senior to spend four days in the hospital and sidelining him for the state tournament.

But Harrison snuck down to a patio along the first-base line at Memorial Stadium to watch his team squash Capital’s Cinderella run. After celebrating on the field, Mountain View players and coaches found Harrison in his state tournament-issued hooded sweatshirt and took turns hugging him one by one.

Rasmussen then made sure Harrison was the first to receive a state championship medal to the loudest cheer of the night.

“It was a very tough moment,” Rasmussen admitted. “Because there’s a kid who has tears in his eyes and wanted to be out here on the field. The best thing we could do is go give him a hug and tell him we love him. He’s a big reason why we’re celebrating tonight.”

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Mountain View base runner Braxton Mills slides safely into home plate ahead of a throw to Capital catcher Cooper Leaf during the state 5A baseball championship Saturday, May 18, 2019 at Memorial Stadium in Boise. Darin Oswald doswald@idahostatesman.com

Mountain View wasted no time asserting its dominance Saturday night, plating five runs in the first inning and then five more in the second. Capital (15-17) committed five errors and a trio of pitchers struggled with their command, issuing a combined seven walks and hitting five batters.

Sensing blood in the water, the Mavericks never let up, scoring in every inning and racking up 13 hits.

Devon Sharts earned the win 362 days after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He held Capital to two runs on five hits while striking out six, a performance the competitor called a little disappointing even with a championship medal wrapped around his neck.

Doctors told the Mountain View ace he’d miss the entire season. But he started throwing seven months after the surgery and headlined a deep Maverick rotation. He improved to 8-0 with the win, which also came in Mountain View’s first state championship appearance. The Mavericks were 0-4 in the state semifinals prior to the weekend.

“Coming to the first (final) in Mountain View history and winning it? That’s big,” Sharts said. “We’re going to be the first team ever on the banner at our school. It means a lot.”

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