It was code red for the baseball team from Prescott Valley Bradshaw Mountain. The Bears, many of them with their hair dyed red, played with that urgency, but only after they spotted Tucson Sahuaro a 7-0 lead in their Division II winner’s bracket game on Friday (May 9) at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
Bradshaw Mountain tied it and sent the game into extra innings, but it was Sahuaro that maintained its composure, taking an 8-7 victory in nine innings when Hunter Green’s base hit to center field brought Justin Hammergren home with nobody out.
Sahuaro, the No. 2 seed, gets a much needed rest until Thursday (May 15) when it will face either top-seeded Phoenix Greenway or No. 4 Nogales in the next round at Maryvale Baseball Park in west Phoenix.
Bradshaw Mountain, the No. 3 seed, moves into the loser’s bracket in the double-elimination tourney on Tuesday against the loser of Friday night’s Greenway-Nogales game. Tuesday’s game also is at Maryvale.
“We are very fortunate to come out of this with a win,’’ said Sahuaro coach Mark Chandler. “We just didn’t take care of the small things. They (Bradshaw Mountain) are a great team. We gave them an opening and they took it.’’
Sahuaro had defeated Buckeye Verrado on Thursday night, went all the way back to Tucson and then came back on Friday.
“It was a quick turnaround, but it was good to get home and sleep in our own beds,’’ Chandler said.
The Sahuaro pitcher who got the win against Verrado was Hammergren, a left-hander whose win was his 10th in 11 decisions.
The emphasis was on Hammer early against Bradshaw Mountain, when he ripped a three-run homer to highlight a five-run second inning.
He set up the game-winning inning in the ninth when he led off with an infield hit between first and second base. The first baseman was too far away to reach the bag before Hammergren and the pitcher also could not get over to cover in time.
Hammergren looks a bit bigger than his listing of 6-feet-1 and 190 pounds.
“He has good speed for a bigger guy,’’ Chandler said.
Hammergren advanced to second on a walk and then motored around on Green’s hit.
Bradshaw Mountain tied it with a four-run seventh, highlighted by catcher Dallas Riggs’ bases-loaded triple. Brad Denny’s single brought home the fourth run of the inning.
Both teams got out of trouble with double plays, Bradshaw Mountain in the eighth and Sahuaro in the ninth.