SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — When Chandler Hamilton’s potent bats showed up this year no one in Arizona had a chance. Those bats noticeably were missing much of the Huskies’ run to the Division I baseball state championship game, but they resurfaced Tuesday and the script followed suit.
Top-seeded Hamilton battered No. 8 Gilbert Mesquite early and cruised to its fourth title, 8-4 at Salt River Fields.
The Huskies averaged eight runs per game during the regular season but scored just 12 in four state tournament games before Monday.
"I knew we were going to break out," Huskies coach Mike Woods said after his water jug bath along the third base line.
Wood’s players backed up their coach.
The Huskies already had a 2-0 lead when they, for all intents and purposes, put the game away and batted around in a five-run third inning, knocking Mesquite starter Matt Heibult from the game. Cameron Cruz had a two-run double in the inning as part of his two-hit night.
"We had to finish otherwise we couldn’t call ourselves the best team," Woods said. "We thought we were; we thought we played the best baseball all year long. (But) we needed to win this one."
Ryan Nolcheff had four hits for Hamilton, Cameron Cruz and Chandler Reynard each had two and the bottom of the Huskies lineup was 5 for 8 with three runs and four RBIs.
"The last couple games were weird but this game was like the rest of the season," Nolcheff said. "We did a great job of composing ourselves, relaxing and playing our game. I feel like the last few games we have been tight. But today we tuned it up."
Tyler Frost struck out eight and held fourth-seeded Nogales to five hits in No. 1 Phoenix Greenway’s 8-0 victory at Salt River Fields.
The right-handed Frost finished the season 12-1 with a 0.26 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 80 innings as the Demons won their third championship in four trips to the title game. Greenway also won in 1993 and 1981.
As if facing Frost wasn’t enough, Nogales fell behind in the first inning. But the Apaches were really in trouble after Greenway pushed across five runs in the second.