The newcomer succumbed to the old veteran Saturday night.
Chaparral, with seven state baseball championships in the previous 13 years, earned another state title with a 10-3 victory over Perry in the 5A Division II baseball state championship. The savvy Firebirds, with their deep baseball history, were simply too powerful and too good for the Pumas at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
“They are now part of the great tradition and 38-year history of Chaparral baseball,” said first-year coach Sam Messina, who also had to fill enormous shoes following Jerry Dawson's retirement.
It was the Pumas first-ever appearance in the 5A-II title game but they struggled to slow down the powerful Chaparral offense.
The Pumas were already the surprise team of the tournament advancing to the final as the No. 12 seed. As they regular season closed, Perry coach Shane Hilstrom had to watch the power points everyday just to see if his team had a chance to get in the postseason. Once the Pumas did they were golden. After beating Goodyear Millennium, 9-7, on Thursday, they got their chance at a title against the No. 2 seeded Firebirds.
The Firebirds broke open the game in the bottom half of the third inning scoring seven runs on six hits. Their second time around facing Perry starter, left hander Jaren Drummond, proved most productive.
“The first time around we didn’t see the ball very good,” Chaparral outfielder Nick DeRegis said.
The beginning of the end for Perry came when DeRegis tripled home Joey Bielek and Jordie Hein to give the Firebirds a 3-1 lead.
Kyle Toth then tripled home two more runs as Chaparral took control of the game. He scored on a past ball to give the Firebirds their seventh run and a 7-1 lead after three innings.
DeRegis said big innings are nothing new for this Firebird team which set a school record for home runs this season. There weren’t any long balls Saturday, but they did pound out 10 hits.
“We’re capable of big innings. We love to compete,” DeRegis said. “We love to win and we don’t accept losing.”
On the mound, Chaparral went with left-handed junior Nick Diamond, the Firebirds' top pitcher all season. He had five innings of quality work to get the victory before Peter Lenstrohm pitched the final two innings.
“He’s been our main dude all year. He’s a stud,” DeRegis said of the team ace.
Messina said his pitching staff has been workmanlike all season.
“We just have a bunch of kids that just kind of grind their way through it,” Messina said.
Perry (21-13) had taken a 1-0 in the top half of the fourth when Chris Spelts singled home David Walker.
The Pumas cut the lead to 7-3 in the fifth when David Walker singled home Wil Schommer and then Walker scored on a sacrifice fly by Chris Spelts.
The Firebirds (24-9) added three runs in the sixth when Bielek, Hein and DeRegis had back-to-back-to-back singles. For the game, DeRegis had two hits and three RBIs.