By Erik T. Masingill ’12
Although the Broncos were up 5-0 in the top of the fourth, Chaparral rallied in the later and extra innings scoring six unanswered runs to win 6-5 and advance to the state championship game at Glendale-Camelback Ranch Stadium.
“A good team like Chaparral is going to keep on doing that,” said head coach Mr. Tom Succow of the Firebirds’ resiliency. “They’re going to keep battling, there’s no question about what their intentions were just like our intentions were: win tonight and get to Tuesday night.”Brophy is not out of contention yet though—they move to the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament and will play No. 6 seed Mesquite Saturday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in a winner-go-to-the-championship game.
The No. 4 seed Broncos began the game with two walks and a single at the plate to get the bases loaded with no outs.
Jeff Clasen ’12 scored the first run with an RBI walk. Emilio Torrez ’12 then came home after a wild pitch from the Firebirds. Brophy led 2-0 after the first inning.
The Broncos struck again in the fourth inning. David Graybill ’12, Emilio Torrez ’12 and Chris Beall ’12 had back-to-back-to-back RBI singles to gain a 5-0 lead on Chaparral.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Firebirds countered with a two-RBI triple to decrease Brophy’s lead to 5-2.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Firebirds scored two more, this time off a two-RBI double to tighten Brophy’s lead 5-4.
Chaparral scored once more off a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth to even the score and eventually send the game into extra innings.
The game would only need one more inning after seven though as Chaparral scored off an RBI single for the walk-off 6-5 win in the eighth.
After Connor Messman ’13 was hit by a pitch in the top of the fifth, Chaparral’s pitching retired the last 12 Brophy batters of the game before the Firebirds scored their last four runs.
Brophy starting pitcher Jake Steffens ’12 threw four-plus innings allowing three runs and six hits while striking out five on 73 pitches.
Steven Oleksak ’13 and Ryan Castellani ’14 came in as relief. Oleksak pitched one-plus innings allowing two runs and three hits on 28 pitches.
Castellani pitched two and a third innings allowing one run and three hits on 33 pitches.
Chaparral starting pitcher Tyger Talley pitched three innings allowing two runs and three hits while striking out six on 72 pitches.
Relief pitcher Michael Diamond threw four innings allowing three runs and four hits on 65 pitches. Diamond also ended the game with 12 consecutive Bronco outs.
“I thought their relief pitcher (Diamond) came in and did a really good job,” Mr. Succow said. “We had opportunities. I thought they made a great play on Graybill to the glove side of shortstop and threw him out. That kind of added some energy to them. We needed to tack on runs, and we didn’t tack on runs.”
As the Firebirds will wait till Tuesday to play the state championship game, the Broncos will play Mesquite for the first time this year.
“I’m proud of the kids how hard they battled tonight, and I expect us to come out on Saturday night against Mesquite and play hard,” Mr. Succow said.