By Justin Janssen ’11
Entering the seventh inning May 3 knotted up at two runs apiece, the No. 9 Brophy Broncos (21-8) needed a clutch hit
or two against No. 1 Mesquite (27-4).
Catcher Jon Rapisarda ’12 delivered the go-ahead RBI single with two outs in the seventh inning scoring Chris Beall ’12, and the Brophy faithful could almost breathe after a nail-biting second round playoff game.
Two batters later, Dan Winkler ’11, the team’s vocal leader, put the game out of reach with a two-RBI bases-loaded single.
Winkler hit the tying RBI double in the sixth scoring Ryan Grant ’12, who pinch-ran for Rapisarda after he started the inning with a double down the left field line.
Beall hit an RBI triple in the first inning to put Brophy out in front, but then a pitcher’s duel broke out.
Brophy lefty Steven Oleksak ’13, who began the season on junior varsity, pitched four-plus innings and didn’t allow a run until Mesquite’s Kyle Davies blasted a two run homer in the fifth.
Oleksak kept the Broncos in the game and got out of jams in the second and third innings with double plays.
“He doesn’t get flustered out there,” said Brophy head coach Mr. Tom Succow about Oleksak. “He doesn’t have outstanding stuff right now, but he has great composure. And that’s more important.”
Nick Jones ’11 got the win in relief and held the Wildcats to one run in three innings pitched.
“He’s been our closer all year,” Mr. Succow said.
Mesquite pitcher Ryan Williams pitched into the sixth, and settled down after Beal’s hit in the first, but Winkler’s game-tying single chased him from the game.
“It was a great team effort,” Mr. Succow said. “Two of our best hitters (Joe Maggi ’11 and Dave Graybill ’12) don’t have a hit in the playoffs.”
Next, Brophy will play Hamilton (24-6) May 7 at Camelback Ranch, the Spring Training home of the Dodgers and White Sox.
Hamilton won the Fiesta Region and defeated Brophy twice in the regular season.
Mesquite moves to the loser’s bracket and will play No. 12 Highland Thursday.