Two Corona del Sol baseball players were so sure the team wasn’t making the playoffs that they didn’t bring their gear to school on the day the bracket was revealed. A third wore a bathing suit to practice.
More than a week later and the Aztecs are one of six teams still remaining in the Division I state tournament.
The final entrant into the field of 24 pulled off its third upset of the postseason with a 10-4 victory over No. 5 Tolleson in an elimination game on Saturday night at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Corona del Sol has ended the season of No. 9 Hamilton, No. 8 St. Mary’s and now the Wolverines. The team’s only loss came by one run to top-seeded Desert Mountain on Thursday.
The Aztecs scored seven runs in the second inning to take control in this one and Billy Clemens threw four innings of shutout relief to close out the win.
“We’re staying alive,” Corona del Sol coach Dave Webb said. “We’re trying to ruin a party here.”
Tolleson scored the first run, but the lead was short-lived.
Eleven batters came to the plate in the second inning for Corona del Sol as Jeff Carter, Nathan Chokey and Colby Hamilton each produced two-run hits.
Tolleson scored three runs in the bottom of the frame to cut the deficit to 7-4 but would be shut down the rest of the way. Clemens threw 41 of his 59 pitches for strikes and only allowed one hit after taking over for Jake Martin in the fourth inning.
“I felt like it was really important (to get ahead in the count) so I could use every pitch I had instead of being limited to one,” Clemens said.
Carter was 2-for-4 with a triple, two RBIs and two runs scored. Chokey was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs, while Hamilton also added a pair of hits and RBIs.
The Aztecs will face off with No. 14 Mountain Pointe on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Corona del Sol has won six of its past seven games dating back to the regular season.