CHANDLER — When Prague upset sixth-ranked Chandler 8-7 Thursday at a Class 3A regional tournament, Lions’ coach Dillon Endecott didn’t hit the panic button, believing his squad had the weapons to rebound.
The Lions did just that Saturday, capturing a state tournament berth with three consecutive regional victories — 14-1 over Kansas, followed by 8-3 and 10-5 decisions over Prague.
In its first Saturday matchup with Prague, the Lions trailed 3-2 entering the bottom of the sixth inning but racked up six runs on four walks, run-scoring singles by Drake Irby and Jarin Greenfield, a Carson Scribner run-scoring groundout, a hit batsman and Colton Cowden’s steal of home.
Prague’s only scoring came on three unearned runs off Nick Curto in the second inning.
Irby and Hutch Underwood led Chandler’s nine-hit attack with two hits apiece.
Curto, in five innings as the starter, gave up two hits and registered seven strikeouts. Curto walked two.
Greeenfield blanked Prague in the final two innings.
In the final matchup, Chandler broke a scoreless tie with nine runs in the top of the fourth on just three hits — a three-run double by Irby and singles by Underwood and Cowden. Prague aided Chandler’s cause with seven walks, two hit batsmen, two passed balls and a wild pitch.
Seven of the nine runs scored with two outs.
Irby and Curto recorded two hits apiece as Chandler finished with six to go along with 14 walks. Irby drove in a game-high three runs.
Greenfield got the pitching victory after allowing no runs and one hit the first four innings. Greenfield struck out eight and issued one walk. Chabon Anderson, who pitched the last three innings, surrendered five runs (four earned) and three hits. Anderson had two hits.
Branom Bailey of Prague posted two doubles in a 3-of-3 outing.
In its blasting of Kansas, Chandler received home runs from Garrett Thomsen and Anderson. Thomsen also tripled en route to a 4-of-5 outing which included three runs batted in. Anderson drove in a game-high six runs.
Chandler upped its record to 20-10 entering Thursday’s state tournament.
Prague concludes the season at 17-16.
Note: Report compiled by contributing writer Fred Fehr.