The awe of Chase Field had to take a back seat once the first pitch of Saturday afternoon's Chandler High-Chandler Hamilton baseball game was thrown.
That's because the 5A Fiesta Region rivals are battling for their playoff lives with two weeks left in the regular season. Both have endured struggles of late.
Leaving a struggle behind this day was Hamilton as the Huskies got three two-out, run-scoring hits in the top of the seventh inning to post an 8-5 victory.
Hamilton's Jake Saylor squeezed a tie-breaking single between short and third to snap a 4-4 tie. The Huskies Ryan Casillas followed with a single to left for another run. Justin Rosales capped the frame with a majestic two-run homer inside the left-field foul pole. That blast capped a 2-for-2, three-RBI day for the Huskies second baseman.
"That was what this game was all about," Hamilton coach Mike Woods said. "A kid gets to go away from here with a great memory."
It also was about getting Hamilton back on track. The Huskies (15-8, 4-4) dropped two one-run games this week to Gilbert Highland and had lost three one-run games in a row. Those defeats have all but eliminated the Huskies from the Fiesta Region title chase. At 7-6 in games that count toward power-rankings and postseason, the Huskies still have work to do to safely secure a postseason berth.
Chandler (14-10, 3-6) has now lost six of its past eight games. The Wolves got positive vibes from a 1-0 win Friday over Gilbert Mesquite, but had those erased by Hamilton's clutch seventh-inning hits. Chandler, which got two hits apiece from Jose Bracamonte, Darian Johnson and Tim Barraza, is 5-8 in power-ranking games. The good karma that came from a six-game winning streak almost three weeks ago has faded.
"We've had one tough game after another and Chandler gave us another one today," Woods said. "They made some great plays to deny us the inning before. We've been getting everybody's best game. It was nice for us to come out on top in one like this."
Hamilton junior Matt Helm went the distance to pick up his fourth win of the year. He allowed eight hits, but only two over the last four innings. He fanned four and did not walk a batter. Hamilton faces Mesquite on Tuesday and Chandler takes a break from region play to face Mesa Red Mountain.
Hamilton got the opportunity to play at Chase by selling tickets to Saturday's Diamondbacks game as part of a fundraiser.