Baseball: Desert Christian wins first titleby Andy Morales on May. 12, 2013, under Sports
Desert Christian (25-4) outlasted Phoenix Christian 11-9 Saturday night to win the school’s first baseball title.
Head coach Grant Hopkins has spent the last couple of years preparing his players for the big stage by playing in invitationals with “bigger schools” and by bringing in former Sabino and CDO coach Mike Hanson and his son Ryan Hanson to help coach. Mike has been a coach for over 20 years and Ryan played on Sabino’s 1997 championship team.
Hopkins lost pitching standout Trevor Beck to graduation last year but players such as sophomore Zach Malis have stepped in to help take the Eagles to the next level.
The team went to back-to-back championship appearances in 1994 and 1995 under Allen
Nielsen in the old 1A conference and other Southern Arizona teams had taken turns winning a championship since then with Patagonia, St. David, Green Fields, St. Gregory, Duncan, Valley Union and Tanque Verde stepping up to the plate.
A complete story on the game can be found HERE.
Tom Belter has now guided Empire (25-6) to two state final appearances in his six short years at the school and the Ravens came up short again 5-4 against Fountain Hills on Saturday night at the Surprise Stadium.
Sophomore Andres Hackman gave Empire an early 3-0 lead with a bases-clearing double in the first inning and Jared Kromminga added another RBI in the third to put the Ravens up 4-0.
Fountain Hills scored three runs in the bottom of the third off of Donny Sands (4-1) and an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth tied it up at 4-4. Meanwhile, Andrew Bryniarski (8-1) shut down 11 Empire batters in a row heading into the seventh.
Empire was able to load the bases in the top of the seventh. An error placed Colton Stokes on first base to start things off and then Joe Smith put down a bunt and Bryniarski chose to attempt a tag on the sacrifice but the tag was late, placing Smith at first on the sacrifice/fielder’s choice play.
Bryniarski forced a couple of fly balls but Stokes was able to move to third base on the second out to place runners at the corners with two outs. Sands was intentionally walked after picking up two balls and the bases were loaded. Connor Geurts came up an drilled a full-count pitch to the right side but the line drive was caught to end the threat.
Fountain Hills scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh on an infield hit with two outs.
Tucson High and Ironwood Ridge finished their seasons in third place with the Badgers losing to Chaparral in D-I and The Ridge losing to Notre Dame in D-II Saturday night.
Both teams came back late to tie their games but they both ultimately fell in extra innings. The Ridge tied their game 2-2 in the sixth but Notre Dame scored in the bottom of the eighth and Tucson battled back from being down 5-0 to tie it up in the seventh only to give up two runs in the eighth.
ELIMINATION BRACKET: Saturday, May 11: Diablo Stadium
2 Tucson High lost to 10 Chaparral, 7-5 (8)
ELIMINATION BRACKET: Saturday, May 11: Camelback Ranch
6 Ironwood lost to 3 Notre Dame, 3-2 (8)
CHAMPIONSHIP: Saturday, May 11: Surprise Stadium
13 Empire lost to 3 Fountain Hills, 5-4
CHAMPIONSHIP: Saturday, May 11: Phoenix Municipal
4 Desert Christian beat 3 Phoenix Christian, 11-9