After giving up three hits in the first inning of Phoenix Sunnyslope’s fourth-round state tournament game against Chandler Seton Catholic on Saturday, senior pitcher Cody Bergkamp got a message from his mom.
It was part Glenn Close in “The Natural,” part catcher after an overthrow.
“As I was going back to the dugout, my mom looked at me and just told me to calm down,” Bergkamp said. “She just kind of gave me the face where it’s just, ‘Hey, you’ve got this game.’ ”
Bergkamp was a different pitcher after the first, leading defending champ Sunnyslope to a 7-2 win at Camelback Ranch.
No. 5 Sunnyslope (27-4-1) will face No. 6 Oro Valley Ironwood Ridge in the Division II winner’s bracket final at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Camelback Ranch, while No. 1 Seton Catholic (23-7) will take on No. 3 Scottsdale Notre Dame on the same field at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in an elimination game.
Bergkamp gave Seton an early 1-0 lead in the first on a walk and a hit, and then loaded the bases with just one out on two more hits.
But he rebounded to get a pop out and flyout to end the inning. Sunnyslope scored two in the top of the seventh, and never trailed again.
“You’re almost better to hit a solo home run and come away with one than hit four balls hard and come away with one,” Seton Catholic coach Marty Maier said. “But that’s the game, that’s baseball. The kid pitched his way out of it and settled down after that.”
After the first, Bergkamp allowed just four hits while striking out eight. Two of those hits were flukey infield singles to second.
The Sunnyslope offense rebounded after going down in order in the first as well, tallying 14 hits in five innings before going 1-2-3 in the seventh. Sunnyslope did strike out 11 times, however.
“I do think our strikeouts were too high tonight,” Sunnyslope coach Jeff Shillington said. “But we’ll take it however we can get it.”
Royal Love went 3 for 4 with three doubles for Sunnyslope, and Matt Pawlowski and Matt Hart each had two hits for Seton Catholic.