If there were any lingering doubts about what kind of baseball player – what kind of pitcher – Tyler Frost is, they now should be put to rest.
No doubts, either, about the legitimacy of Frost’s Phoenix Greenway baseball teammates.
The Demons, after all, are the 2014 Division II state champions.
The top-seeded team put the finishing touches on an outstanding season on Tuesday (May 20), coasting to an 8-0 victory over No. 4 seed Nogales at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale.
Greenway, which had defeated Nogales 9-1 earlier in the double-elimination tournament, finished the season at 29-4. Nogales finished 30-7.
Frost, a member of the varsity for four seasons, shook off an injury to the middle finger of his pitching hand (right) that occurred against Tucson Sahuaro in the winner’s bracket semifinal on Thursday (May 15).
He gave up five hits, struck out eight and did not walk a batter. He got help from his defense, which came up with three double plays. One was started by Frost himself, when he caught a line drive and threw to third base before a baserunner could get back.
“Good defense always helps. I think we have the best in the state. It reminds me of a college team,’’ Frost said.
His earned run average, already microscopic to begin with, was certain to dip even lower.
One of the numbers that Frost was smiling about was his record, 12-1, which is just a bit better than the 11-1 mark posted by his uncle, Jonathan Tellez, when Greenway won the Class 4A state title in 1993 under coach Ted Blake. He also coached the Demons to the Class 5A crown in 1981.
Frost looked at his finger and it was swollen and a bit discolored, but it was not going to keep him out. Coach Matt Denny kept asking him if he was OK, seemingly every few minutes, since the injury occurred.
Denny said Frost is one of the best pitchers, and one of the most competitive players, he has seen in a long time.
Frost acknowledged his competitiveness, “maybe too much. I think I’m too hard on myself sometimes.’’
He will play collegiately at Gonzaga along with Phoenix Sunnyslope star Calvin LeBrun, also a pitcher-outfielder.
“He (Frost) is going to have a great career,’’ Denny said.
Frost admitted he was wary of Nogales, which had defeated Sahuaro to reach the title game.
“I knew they were going to come in to this game trying to make up for it (earlier loss to Greenway),’’ he said.
With the bat, Frost reached base three times, on two walks and a hit, and his courtesy runner, Bryce Mackey, scored twice.
Greenway scored a run in the first inning and five more in the second. The bottom half of the inning lasted 31 minutes on its own. A two-run double by Payton Squier was the big hit in the second. The Demons added two runs in the fifth. Nogales used five different pitchers.
Greenway also scored two runs in the game on bunts.
“This title means the world,’’ Frost said. “We put in a lot of hard work.’’