Eric Brossart made a lot of people happy with his game-winning hit on Thursday night.
But no one more so than Dillon Bigcrane.
Brossart, Chaparral’s No. 9 hole hitter, hit a single to score pinch-runner John Seely as the No. 2 Firebirds knocked off No. 4 Brophy, 6-5, in eight innings in the Division I baseball state semifinals on Thursday at Glendale's Camelback Ranch Stadium.
The hit capped a big comeback, and it also saved Bigcrane from potentially being the goat. Chaparral’s left-handed first baseman had a great day at the plate, finishing 4-for-4, and had a one-out single in the top of the eighth which was ultimately the winning run.
However, on his hit, he thought the ball was going to be a home run and stood at home plate admiring the shot for several seconds. The ball hit the right field wall and Bigcrane could not recover in time to make it to second base.
While coach Sam Messina called it an embarrassing moment, Chaparral will not need to dwell on it. Mike Diamond followed with a base hit before Brossart ended the contest. The Firebirds rallied from a 5-0 hole to get the win and advance to the state championship game on Tuesday night at Camelback Ranch.
Chaparral awaits the winner of Brophy and Mesquite’s Saturday night contest at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
“I got down two strikes and wanted to put a good swing on it,” Brossart said. “I was lucky it found a hole. This feels great. It’s my first walk off hit.”
Chaparral starter Tyger Talley struck out six batters in three innings of work, but walked three guys and threw a wild pitch in giving up two runs in the first. Diamond came on in the fourth inning and allowed five of the first six runners to reach, giving up three runs for a 5-0 deficit.
From there, the Firebirds chipped away, in large part due to Diamond.
He finished 4-for-4 on the night with a double and a triple, the latter of which knocked in the team’s first two runs. Dylan Cozens drove in two more in the fifth inning with a double and Austin Singer hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth to tie the game.
Diamond shut out the Broncos after the fourth inning and retired the final 12 batters to give his team a chance to rally.
“I played the best game of my life today,” Diamond said.
Despite the shaky first inning of relief, Messina knew Diamond would get better as the game moved along.
“Michael’s kind of a high-energy guy, a lot like Tyger,” Messina said. “You saw the jittery stuff early on. If you’re going to get them, you’ve got to get them early on. Once they settle down, they get their breaking stuff over and start hitting both sides of the plate.”
Chaparral is the only undefeated team left and now has several days to rest up for the championship game. The Firebirds won last year’s 5A Division II title.
Brophy’s top three hitters, David Graybill, Emilio Torrez and Chris Beall, combined to go 6-for-7 with a pair of walks, three RBIs and two runs scored the first three times through the lineup, but were put down in order while nursing a one-run lead in the top of the sixth and didn’t bat again.
Cozens finished 2-for-4 with the double and two RBIs.