May 15, 2004
The former major league pitcher in Bill Swift may have been a tad offended, but the coach in Swift was delighted Friday by Scottsdale Christian’s results.
The Eagles committed five errors and gave up four unearned runs, but SCA rallied late for the second time in three state tournament games and advanced to the 2A championship game with an 11-8 defeat of Yuma Catholic at Maryvale Baseball Park.
SCA (23-3) will face Metro Region rival Phoenix Christian today in the championship game for the second consecutive season. Phoenix Christian won last year’s title game 11-9.
It will be the teams’ third meeting after splitting a pair of regular-season contests.
"We’re playing a team (today) that has better pitching and plays better defense than a lot of these teams," said Swift. "We can’t make mistakes."
The Eagles took a 4-0 lead in the first but gave the advantage away with a trio of errors in the Shamrocks’ half of the inning. Yuma Catholic took their first lead in the fourth when Matt Olsen’s ill-advised dive turned a single into a tworun double and two more errors in the fifth spotted the Shamrocks an 8-6 lead.
"I cringe every time the ball is thrown away and my pitcher has to stay out there longer than he has to," Swift said. "Luke (Savidge) threw the ball well in the first, it was just a circus."
The circus continued in the sixth, but it was SCA’s turn to enjoy the fun. Olsen and Savidge chased tiring Shamrock starter Tom Linville with a single and double. Lance Carter came on in relief, but perhaps more importantly sophomore Austin Carter was moved from right field to third base.
A late Austin Carter throw enabled Eric King to reach and load the bases. Anthony Shelstrate drove in Olsen with a sacrifice fly, Savidge came home on a wild pitch and then King scored when Austin Carter’s airmailed throw allowed him to score after he had slipped rounding third base.
SCA finished the inning with two more runs and an 11-8 lead.
"We just thought, ‘It’s not over,’" said Shelstrate, who drove in three runs. "We knew we could come back."
Though the sophomore has been nursing a sore right arm, Swift replaced Savidge with King in the fourth inning. King allowed three runs, but stifled the Shamrocks after SCA had taken the lead, allowing just one hit in the final three innings.
The Eagles will have ace Will Munsil on the mound when they tackle the Cougars at 1 p.m. at Maryvale Park.
PHOENIX CHRISTIAN 5, MARICOPA 2: The defending champion Cougars had to survive a late basesloaded rally by the Desert Region runner-up Rams.
Phoenix Christian will be after its third state championship since 1998.