CASA GRANDE — Throughout the season, the Poston Butte Broncos and Vista Grande Spartans have cemented themselves as serious contenders in the 4A Conference.

A gusty Friday night finally brought the two powerhouses together and while the cold air stayed throughout the evening; the Bronco bats stayed hot, taking the win 11-0 over their region rival.

Spartans pitcher Jayson Rael drew the starting assignment for the Vista Grande squad. While he found himself in early trouble by allowing a run to score on a passed ball, the righty hurler struck out two in the opening frame to avoid any more damage.

Unfortunately for Rael, run support could not be found when the Spartans entered the batter’s box, as Broncos starter Ethan Hatch brought his best stuff to the opposing team’s home field, pitching the entire five-inning game while giving up zero runs on four hits and five strikeouts.

Meanwhile for the Broncos, the hits came in bunches. Four balls would sail over the fence for the San Tan Valley team with Genaro Garcia hitting a solo shot, Hatch connecting on a two-run homer and Connor Lopez recording two round-trippers, his first being a solo shot and his second scoring three runs.

“We prepare them in the offseason for arms like that, (Rael) has a college-level arm,” Broncos coach Chris Holcombe said. “We go play the big schools in the offseason, so we see dudes like that constantly. Our region doesn’t necessarily prepare us for a team as good as (Vista Grande) but we do all of our preparation in the offseason, so it is nothing that we are intimidated by.”

On the Spartans side of the ball, assistant coach Victor Olivares said the team just has to let this game go and focus on coming back stronger for their next matchup.

“We have to tip our caps to them, they outhit us and out-pitched us tonight,” he said. “We just have to come out Monday ready to go. We were kind of embarrassed on our own home field so we have to turn the page and get ourselves ready to go.”