The road to the 4A state tournament was quite simple for the Coronado Dons on Wednesday night at Scottsdale Stadium.
All the Dons needed to do against the obviously tired Saguaro Sabercats was get pitcher Craig Heyer a lead and let Heyer do the rest.
Heyer ended up doing it with his arm and his bat as he led the Dons to a 12-2 victory, called after six innings due to the mercy rule, to grab the East Sky Region's second and final spot to the state tourney.
The victory also moved Coronado into today's 5:30 p.m. East Sky regional final against Chaparral, which already has a spot secured at state. The loss ended the season for Saguaro. The Sabercats were tired because they needed to go 11 innings to beat Arcadia, 13-12, Tuesday night for the right to face Coronado.
Heyer scattered six hits while striking out nine. He also hit a three-run homer in the first inning to put the Dons up 4-1.
"He came out and established himself early on," said Coronado coach Buck Holmes.
"The prior start, he wasn't as sharp. All day at school he has been focusing on going over with (catcher) Louis (Marson) about how he wanted to approach guys and came out and really did a nice job getting ahead of hitters and overpowering people."
Heyer, not one to toot his own horn, admitted he had great command of his stuff.
"I knew I had to change something," said Heyer, who wasn't happy with his effort in a 4-3 win over Arcadia last week. Even after Heyer's big home run, the Dons didn't let up the pressure on four Sabercats pitchers.
"Over the past couple of games, we've kind of been getting comfortable," said Coronado shortstop R.C. Chandler. "We can't sit it on it. When Craig hit the home run, coach came up to me and told me get them (my teammates) up in there."
With his pitching staff depleted by Monday's marathon, Saguaro coach Rex Edwards knew it would take a supreme effort to beat the No. 3 Dons.
"A little bit of luck would have helped," said Edwards. Holmes tipped his hat to the Sabercats.
"I've got all the pride in the world for those guys," said Holmes. "I told them before the game how proud we were just to watch that game last night (vs. Arcadia)."