Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep, three time state runner-up, moved within two wins of its first baseball championship by defeating Sahuaro 10-4 in state tournament play Thursday at Camelback Ranch.
The win advanced Notre Dame to Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. game at Camelback Ranch, where a victory would put it into Tuesday’s 7 p.m. final.
Brian Fischer, who coached Newport High to three championships in Bellevue, Wash., senses this year’s squad can take that fateful step beyond Notre Dame’s second-place teams of 2007, ’08 and ’09.
“We have guys who know what it’s about and have business they want to take care of,” he said.
Notre Dame (28-7) spotted Sahuaro (27-6) two runs, before breaking open the game with five runs in the third and fourth innings. Those in the third came Notre Dame banged out six hits that inning, including Duncan Morfitt’s three-run double to second and RBI singles by Nick Affronti and Hunter Bross.
Morfitt finished with two hits and four RBIs, and Ryan Scott and Devin Young chipped in two singles apiece. Notre Dame’s 11 hits were spread among all but one batter.
The result was Notre Dame’s biggest scoring output and victory margin of its double-elimination state tournament, far wider than Tuesday’s narrow 4-3 escape from Chandler Seton Catholic. Importantly, it was another comeback among many Fischer boasted of beforehand.
“We’ve found ways to win all year,” he said. “Our guy believe they can win every game, regardless of the score.”
Sahuaro led 2-0 on a pair of hits and an error in the second, then added Jake Northrup’s solo homer in the fifth and a groundout in the seventh.
It was insufficient, though, for a Sahuaro team vying for its fourth state championship and first since 1982.