The Prescott Badgers held a 5-3 lead, and only needed three outs to advance in the AIA Division IV state baseball playoffs, but mistakes proved to much to overcome, as the Saguaro Sabercats rallied with five runs in the top of the seventh inning, to beat the Badgers 8-5. All eight runs by the Sabercats were unearned.
Prescott jumped on top 1-0 in the bottom of the first, as Jacob Police singled, then scored on a single by Brance Christopherson, that was aided by a Sabercat fielding error.
The Badgers added a run in the third, when Ryan Greene scored on a hard hit double into the left center alley by Kody Jones.
In the bottom of the fourth, Prescott increased their lead to 4-0, when Korey Schwartz scored on a error filled bunt by Chase Kasun. Luke Fredrick scored on a solid single to center by Brance Christopherson.
Saguaro was able to respond with three runs in the top of the fifth. A collision by Jacob Police and Jake Schulz cost just enough time for Cody Pock to reach first base ahead of the throw. A Badger error and a balk put runners at second and third. Saguaro scored two on a single by Nick Barendrick. A pass ball put Barendrick into scoring position at second base. Hogan Hattan delivered an RBI single and all of a sudden it was 4-3.
The Badgers got one run back in the bottom of the inning, when Kody Jones worked a walk, and went to second on a slow roller by Jake Schulz. Korey Schwartz smacked a single to center, scoring Jones.
Goose eggs appeared for both teams in the sixth inning, leading to the seventh inning disaster. Kody Jones came onto pitch and get those final three outs, but errors turned the game upside down for the Badgers. It started off with a ground ball to Korey Schwartz at first base, who had to field the ball 20 feet from the bag, Kai Inouye just beat Schwartz to the first base bag for an infield single. Nick Barendrick walked. Jones was able to get Clay Randall to hit a popup, and there was one out. Hogan Hattan hit a ground ball just to the left of second base. Jake Schulz bobbled the ball after a tough hop, which left the bases loaded. Jones had the next batter at 0-2, but Jack Slominski was able to get a walk, which cut the Badger lead to 5-4. Christian Dorsett hit a grounder to Schulz who threw him out at first, but the run scored, tying the game at five. Joel Rubin came up and with one smack of the bat sent the ball over the left centerfield fence giving Saguaro their first lead of the game 8-5. Jones battled abck to strike out the final batter of the inning, but the damage had been done.
Three seniors spent their final time on the hill. Evan Sterling got the start, going 4 1/3 innings, allowing no earned runs, two hits, while striking out five. Erubiel Franco battled for 1 2/3 allowing no runs, two hits, and striking out two. Kody Jones allowed no earned runs, two hits, two walks, before recording a strikeout. At the plate, Brance Christopherson had three hits and an RBI. Jacob Police had two hits and scored a run. Luke Fredrick had a single, scored a run, and had two stolen bases.
Prescott ends their season at (13-16), while Saguaro moves on in the playoffs at (19-10).
SAGUARO SABERCATS 8, PRESCOTT BADGERS 5
Innings - 123 456 7 - R H E
Saguaro 000 030 5 - 8 7 2
Prescott 101 210 0 - 5 9 5
4A Baseball Playoff Scores