Division II baseball state championship outlook - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Division II baseball state championship outlook

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Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 2:23 pm

Division II baseball state championship game

Who: No. 3 Notre Dame vs. No. 5 Sunnyslope

When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Where: Glendale Camelback Ranch (10710 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix)

Records: Notre Dame 29-7; Sunnyslope 28-4-1

Previous meetings: Have not met this year.

Outlook: Sunnyslope is the defending champion, and despite the lower seed, is the favorite to repeat. The Vikings have gone undefeated in the state tournament and are built nicely for the postseason with a deadly 1-2 punch on the mound. Cody Bergkamp (4-0, 1.40 ERA) is expected to start against the Saints, with Calvin LeBrun (2-1, 2.64 ERA) available in relief. Sunnyslope is averaging 8.5 runs scored per game this season and allows only 2.8, so it has a nice mixture of pitching and offense. This game could certainly go either way, though, as Notre Dame established itself early as another one of the best teams in the division. The Saints have seven losses on the year, but three came to Division I state title participant Desert Mountain and two more to Division I power Desert Ridge. Notre Dame played a tougher schedule than anyone in Division II and the experience has helped it to this point. The Saints are led offensively by Nick Affronti, who is batting .489 with five homers and 38 RBIs on the season. The team lost outfielder Devon Deraad to injury before the state tournament and lost its first double-elimination game, but has navigated its way to the title game. The Saints have eliminated Greenway, Seton Catholic, Sahuaro and Ironwood Ridge, and now will take aim at beating the Vikings for the championship. These two teams have been among the best in Division II all season, and either would be a worthy champion.

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