When Hamilton's potent bats showed up this year no one in Arizona had a chance. Those bats noticeably were missing much of the Huskies' run to the Division I baseball state championship game, but they resurfaced Tuesday and the script followed suit.
Top-seeded Hamilton battered No. 8 Mesquite early and cruised to its fourth title, 8-4 at Salt River Fields.
The Huskies averaged eight runs per game during the regular season but scored just 12 in four state tournament games before Monday.
"I knew we were going to break out," Huskies coach Mike Woods said after his water jug bath along the third base line.
Wood's players backed up their coach.
Ryan Nolcheff started the hit parade in the opening inning, when Hamilton took the lead it did not relinquish, as part of a four-hit night. The senior center fielder had a double, a stolen base an RBI and scored two runs.
"The last couple games were weird but this game was like the rest of the season," Nolcheff said. "We did a great job of composing ourselves, relaxing and playing our game. I feel like the last few games we have been tight. But today we tuned it up."
Facing a familiar foe in Mesquite — the two teams previously played three times this season, all Hamilton victories, and are seven miles apart — helped Hamilton compose itself, Nolcheff said.
The Huskies already had a 2-0 lead when they, for all intents and purposes, put the game away and batted around in a five-run third inning, knocking Mesquite starter Matt Heibult from the game. Cameron Cruz had a two-run double in the inning as part of his two-hit night.
Chandler Reynard also had two hits, as the bottom of the Huskies lineup was 5 for 8 with three runs and four RBIs.
"They picked a good time to hit," Wildcats coach Jeff Holland said. "We gave up too many hits with two strikes and two outs. ... We fell behind too many guys and it's a lot easier to hit when you know that fastball is coming."
Mesquite's Josh Webster was 2 for 2 with a triple and an RBI, but the Wildcats did not score more than one run in any inning and in the program's second title game appearance lost to Hamilton again.
The Huskies also won it all in 2008, 2004 and 2003.
This year's title capped a season in which the Huskies were thought to be the state's best team and worked their way into multiple national polls.
"We had to finish otherwise we couldn't call ourselves the best team," Woods said. "We thought we were; we thought we played the best baseball all year long. (But) we needed to win this one."
DIVISION I STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
HAMILTON 8, MESQUITE 4
Mesquite 000 111 1 — 4 7 0
Hamilton 115 001 x — 8 12 2
WP: Pederson. LP: Heibult.
MESQUITE: Daley 4-1-1-1, Harrington 4-0-1-1, Valletta 4-2-1-0, Pollett 3-0-1-0, Webster 2-0-2-1, Holland 3-0-0-0, Burton 3-0-0-0, Murrietta 3-1-1-0, Gonzalez 2-0-0-0. Totals: 28-4-7-3.
HAMILTON: Peep 4-0-0-0, Nolcheff 4-2-4-1, Filiere 3-1-1-1, Boston 2-1-0-0, Robson 3-0-1-1, Wylie 3-1-1-1, Cruz 3-2-2-2, Reynard 3-1-2-1, King 2-0-1-1. Totals: 27-8-12-8.
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