Senior Devin Harrison drove in four runs, the final two on a game-ending two-run home run as the 6th seed Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks dispatched upstart Nogales in a 13-3 run-rule drubbing to advance to the winner's bracket final of the Division II State Baseball Tournament.
Ironwood Ridge (26-5) will have five days off before they play #5 seed Phoenix Sunnyslope. The Vikings upset top seed Chandler Seton Catholic 7-2 in the 2nd semifinal at Camelback Ranch.
The Nighthawks jumped on the Apaches right out of the gate getting three runs in the 1st inning. Two walks and an RBI single by Jake Matthews made it 1-0 IRHS. A critical error at 2nd base by Nogales' David Oropeza on what would have been an easy third out allowed The Ridge to escape the inning with a 3-0 advantage.
Ironwood Ridge added two more in the second when Apaches starter Anthony Martinez walked the bases loaded. He then struck out Ryan Windish and Matthews looking before Harrison beat out a full swing dribbler that rolled about four feet in front of the plate for a two-run infield single.
The Apaches finally got to Ironwood Ridge starter Spencer Wilson in the fourth, scoring twice, including an RBI single by Nick Colgate. But Nogales ran themselves out of more runs when J.P. Rodriguez over ran third base on a single by Oropeza and was tagged out.
The Nighthawks added eight more runs on the next two frames to close out the game. Nogales' Ramses Camacho miss played a Matthews fly ball on the warning track in left-center allowing two runs to score, Frankie Ortiz drove in a pair with a two-run single before Harrison ended it with his 5th inning home run.
Nogales (22-9) has another shot to get to the May 14th title game but they must now go through the loser's bracket to do so. The Apaches will face Sahuaro Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Camelback Ranch. The 4th seed Cougars beat Gila Ridge Saturday 6-5 at Surprise Stadium.
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