Defending state champ Scottsdale Chaparral keeps title defense alive

Defending state champ Scottsdale Chaparral keeps title defense alive


Defending state champ Scottsdale Chaparral keeps title defense alive


Scottsdale Chaparral and Chandler Basha entered the Division I state tournament on different trajectories.

No. 10 Chaparral, the defending state champion, played a bit under expectations, and dropped its season finale, losing a first-round bye in the process. Basha scored a win to wrap up its regular season and snuck into the playoff field as the 23 seed, its first postseason berth since 2009.

Those flight paths held for the first couple innings as Basha jumped out to a four-run lead, but quickly reversed themselves as Chaparral claimed a 12-8 first-round win Saturday at home.

“The first two innings were pretty rough,” Chaparral senior Michael Diamond said. “I was pretty skeptical. We came back. I knew we were going to come back.”

Chaparral will visit No. 7 Goodyear Millennium in the second round at 4 p.m. Tuesday with a berth in the double-elimination, final-eight portion of the tournament on the line.

Basha coach Jim Schilling said his team expected to win when it saw its draw against Chaparral, and after two innings it seemed a likely outcome. Basha roughed up Chaparral starter Andrew ShapsCQ for seven hits and five runs, three of which came on a pair of homers to left field by Basha pitcher Zach Torriente.

Chaparral trailed 5-1 after two innings, and coach Sam Messina made a few changes. Collin Gabel moved from second to pitcher to relieve Shaps, Colton Kilgour took over as catcher for Matt McKelvey and sophomore Nick Guaragna and junior Jack Peck entered the game to bat in the six- and seven-holes.

Gabel held Basha to one hit over the next two innings, while subs Guaragna and Peck aided an offensive effort that tallied 11 runs on 11 hits to lead 12-5 after four.

Basha committed four errors in that same span, and eight of the runs scored in that span were unearned. Basha woke up in the fifth, scoring three runs to cut the lead to four, but stranded a pair of runners in both the sixth and seventh.

“They had some things fall for them, and we made some mistakes, which didn’t help,” Schilling said. “I thought they did a good job putting the ball in play today. That was kind of the difference.”

Gabel was credited with the win, giving up three runs on three hits and striking out three in three innings. Diamond gave up just two hits for a scoreless six and seventh.

Christopher Nimtz (3 for 5, RBI, two runs) and Tanner Bollig (3 for 4, run) led the offensive attack for Chaparral, and Guaragna went 2 for 3 with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored after entering in the third inning.

For Basha, Torriente was 2 for 3 with three RBIs and two solo homers, and shortstop Jamie Westbrook was 2 for 5, knocking in two runs. Basha will graduate 13 seniors, making Saturday’s loss particularly hard to swallow.

“I feel like down the road, they’ll feel like the accomplished a lot,” Schilling said. “But right now it stinks.”


More USA TODAY High School Sports