5/12/2014 11:03:00 AM Bradshaw baseball falls at state, but team is still alive
Prescott Valley Tribune
There's no room for moral victories in the state playoffs, but the Bradshaw Mountain baseball team didn't go down without a major fight on Friday.
The Bears, Division 2's 3-seed, met 2-seed Tucson Sahuaro in the state tournament winner's bracket semifinals at Tempe Diablo Stadium. And although the team rallied back from an early 7-0 deficit to later force extras, the Bears lost 8-7 in nine innings for their first loss of the playoff tournament.
The Bears live to play another day, however, in the double-elimination format.
Though the road to the May 20 state championship game now forces Bradshaw to win three games next week in Maryvale, the Bears are still in the mix when they play this coming Tuesday (4 p.m.) against the winner of today's 8-seed Flagstaff and 12-seed Gila Ridge matchup.
Sloppy play hurt Bradshaw early Friday in the Sahuaro game. Pitcher Tony Pins started on the mound and allowed seven runs in 6 1/3 innings - but only two of those runs were earned.
Sahuaro led 7-0 after three innings.
"We just kind of dug ourselves in a hole with some of the mistakes we made defensively," BMHS head coach Randy Clifford said. "And we've been pretty good defensively, so that's kind of the disappointing or frustrating thing today."
But the Bears weren't going down quietly.
They scratched back into it with two runs in the fourth inning and one in the fifth. They then scored four in the top of the seventh when Dallas Riggs lined a bases-clearing triple before Bradley Denny plated Riggs with an RBI-single to tie the game 7-7.
"They really could've hung their heads when we were down 7-0. We weren't really playing well, and they held it together and they competed for the next three (innings)," Clifford said.
"The character of this team is astounding. They don't feel like they're out of it."
Sahuaro, though, was able to close it out in the ninth inning to advance to face 1-seed Greenway in the winner's bracket championship on May 15 with a trip to the state championship game at stake.
Dropping to the loser's bracket for Bradshaw, meanwhile, sets up a week that potentially features three single-elimination games, all in Maryvale, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Clifford is leaning toward starting Bradley Denny on the mound in the Tuesday matchup. Denny threw around 30 pitches in 1-2/3 innings of relief on Friday. Jeremy Moyer, Kody Jones and Pins also will be available.
"It's an elimination game so there's no reason to hold anybody back," he added.