Connor Messman was nervous for his first-ever postgame interview.
The state baseball tournament which preceded it?
That was no sweat.
Brophy’s junior catcher went 2-for-3 with a triple and a two-run homer to help lead No. 4 Brophy to a 10-2 victory over No. 8 Hamilton in the third round of the Division I playoffs on Saturday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Brophy moves on to the state semifinals, where it will face Chaparral on Thursday for a berth in the title game. Hamilton drops to the loser’s bracket and will play Mesquite on Tuesday in an elimination game.
Messman and his teammates at the bottom of the order made it look easy. No. 8 hitter Ryan Castellani went 2-for-2 with a homer and three RBIs and 9-hole hitter Connor Moore was 1-for-2 with a triple and an RBI.
On a team with stars like David Graybill and Chris Beall, players like Messman can get lost in the shuffle, which he relayed while talking with a reporter after the game.
“Nobody interviews me,” he said, “so I might mess up a little bit.”
But all Messman had to do was rehash a memorable night, which included the round-tripper over the left field wall in the spring training home of the Oakland Athletics.
“It was an inside pitch and I just turned on it,” Messman said. “It was awesome. It’s a big stadium so it definitely means something.”
The bottom third of the order had seven of the team’s 10 runs scored and knocked in six.
The top four hitters, meanwhile, only managed two hits in 11 at-bats.
“The bottom half of our lineup was huge for us today,” Brophy coach Tom Succow said. “Everybody did their part.”
Graybill fought some wildness but went 4 1/3 innings, giving up two runs — one earned — to earn the win. Joe Oleksak relieved him with runners on first and third in the fifth inning and the Broncos ahead by three, and got a pair of outs to escape the jam.
Messman’s two-run shot was the highlight of a five-run sixth which blew the game open.
Castellani got the save with two innings of relief, allowing only a walk to Skyler Palermo and no runs.