oodyear Millennium baseball coach Sam Messina says he doesn’t have an ace, but Chad Williams did a decent impression of one Tuesday afternoon.
Williams allowed just three hits to a tentative Cactus Shadows’ lineup and the Falcons' defense was guilty of four errors in a 9-1 Millennium victory in the first round of the 4A state baseball tournament.
The Desert Sky Region champion Falcons (18-9-1) were making their first appearance in the state tournament since moving up to 4A four years ago.
“I don’t think we were ready for the state playoffs. We’re a very talented team, but young,” said Cactus Shadows senior Matt Mardeusz, who took the loss. “We made a lot of errors today. We were not mentally prepared for state.”
Mardeusz led off the fourth inning with a solo home run, but the Falcons couldn’t put anything else together against Williams. The two other hits Williams allowed didn’t get out of the infield and a pair of double plays eliminated Cactus Shadows runners in the first and seventh innings.
The Tigers (24-5) didn’t commit an error and Kyle Oreshack made a pair of plays in center field to keep the Falcons off the base paths.
“This team scraps and fights and today was just exemplified what we did all year,” Messina said. “We play good defense, run the bases well, put the ball in play and throw strikes.”
The game got away from Cactus Shadows in the fourth after Mardeusz’s home run had tied the score. Chris Hunter led off with a single and advanced to third on an error, a miscue that was just the beginning of the Falcons' problems. Millennium had already scored twice when Williams’ infield single pushed home a third run and began a chain reaction that included two Falcons throwing errors that inevitably allowed Williams to score.
“It just bit us today, big time,” Cactus Shadows coach Tom Scala said of his team's defense. “It’s just the last couple of games our defense has let us down. We weren’t aggressive and it came back and bit us. This is not a reflection of our team.”