As the old adage goes in order to be the best you've got to beat the best.
Tucson Desert Christian has won three consecutive state titles - the previous two in Division IV - so they fit the mold. Apache Junction didn't really care about that and used it as motivation in a 10-3 semifinal victory to dethrone the Eagles Friday night at Goodyear baseball complex.
It didn't take long for the Prospectors to strike gold. In the second inning they broke it open and never looked back. A six run outbreak chased Eagles starter Barrett Greene after just one and two thirds innings. Back-to-back triples from juniors Prescott Horn and Justin Anderson ignited the Apache Junction faithful who made the 53-mile trek. That would be all the Prospectors needed.
Junior starter Justin Anderson threw a complete game, scattering eight hits and walked just three. Anderson credited his teammates.
"It was the furthest I've thrown this season and I feel good out there. I wanted to get this complete game for my team they supported me big time at the dish tonight."
Coach Ray Figueroa was humble but ecstatic. He knows the short turn around - with the state championship in under 24 hours - will be a mental grind as well as a physical test for his team. This won't be multiple choice and it won't be a pop quiz this is the final.
"We know what a challenge we have next. We passed ours tonight. Joy Christian's a tough ball club but so are we. My team has believed all season long."
Horn went 1-for-3 with a sac-fly, and 4 of the 10 runs knocked in. A key portion of his teams offense. The six run inning deflated the atmosphere. But the response immediately (when the Eagles got anything going) was the back-breaker.
Apache Junction's transition in the past two seasons under Figueroa has been incredible. They've dug up something special. Now they sit 21 outs from a state championship. It seemed like the entire town was there and excited tonight. Anderson, Figueroa, and Horn all mentioned the support.
"Crowd was awesome. Supported this ride all year long. They believe in it and its very cool to see. It would mean a lot to the town of Apache Junction to bring this home.I hope to see them all out tomorrow."
The Prospectors (26-6) will draw Glendale Joy Christian at 4 p.m. at Surprise Stadium for the hardware.