The Patriots varsity baseball team finished strong last Friday to take home the AZ Charter Athletics 2A State Championship at the Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, spring training home to the MLB Diamondbacks and Rockies.
MALC earned a first round bye with their #1 ranking for the season and moved on to James Sandoval in the second round. Sophomore Jay Norton pitched more than five of the six innings, giving up just 1 run on 3 hits with 2 walks and 7 strikeouts. “He pitched well, and we played good defense behind him,” said the Patriot coaching staff.
Meanwhile, senior Danny Warden played behind the plate at catcher for the first time this season. “He did a great job. Its a tough thing to do in a playoff situation,” stated coach John Norton.
The Patriot offense was well balanced, with freshman Austen Emme going 2-2 with 3 RBIs. Cole Christensen, Cody Clyburn, Warden and Norton all scored runs for the Patriots. The MALC squad won the game 8-1, earning a trip to the Championship game against Tesseract. The two teams had already met twice in the regular season, with each taking a win on their home fields.
Danny Warden pitched the complete game, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits with 13 strikeouts and 2 walks. Jay Norton switched with Warden and handled the catching duties, while sophomore Cody Clyburn played at short stop for the first time. “Danny came up with big pitches when we needed them,” said the coaching staff. “Jay and Cody really stepped up, playing great in positions they don’t normally play. We were a little worried about not having our regular catcher for the playoffs, but Danny and Jay caught like they have been there all season. Cody was awesome at short stop, after playing outfield all season.”
Once again, the Patriots offense was steady and consistent. “We were productive all through the lineup, everyone contributed, which is very important in playoff baseball,” said coach Norton. Jay Norton went 2-4, Warden 1-2 with 2 walks, senior Christian Bernal 1-2 with an RBI, Emme 1-3 with an RBI, and Justin Wright doubled and scored a run in 3 at bats. It was a team effort, according to the coaches who acknowledged, “that’s what it takes to win a championship.” Final score… Patriots 6, Tesseract 2.
The Patriots coaching staff would like to thank everyone that helped and supported our team throughout this season, especially the teachers for their work in the classroom and cooperation with the coaches. It is an honor to work with such a wonderful staff, all to help these fine young men to grow and mature into fine young adults. We would also like to thank the parents. The attendance at our games was teriffic!
- senior Danny Warden and sophomore Jay Norton for being named to the AZCAA 2A All State Team
- Cole Christensen, the Most Improved Player (by far!)
- all of our seniors. Good luck!