The Prescott Badgers suffered a gut wrenching blow in a 4-3, season ending loss, in the first round of the AIA Division 4 state playoffs on Saturday. A lot of Badger fans are still scratching their heads trying to figure out what happened and why.
Estrella Foothills (23-5), made the trip up from Goodyear and benefited from a huge call by the third base umpire in the final inning. The score was tied at three with Luke Fredrick on the mound for the Badgers, and a runner at third. There were two outs when the balk call allowed the runner from third score, putting the Wolves up 4-3. Fans were visibly upset by the fact that an umpire would make such a critical call in the final inning, with the game on the line. Obviously, if there was a reason to make that call, it should be made, but if there is any question of whether Fredrick actually balked, an umpire is better suited to leave it alone and play on. A video of the "balk call" would suggest that it never happened. What the umpire saw to make that call is unknown. Unfortunately, a call was made and Estrella Foothills happily accepted the gift.
The crowd was still agitated and stunned, as Prescott failed to score in the bottom of the inning, ending the Grand Canyon Region co-champions season at (15-10).
The Badgers led 1-0 and 3-1, but were tied each time by the Wolves in the top of the next innings.
Jake Schulz started and went 6 2/3 before Luke Fredrick came in to get the final out. Schulz was charged with four runs on six hits while striking out two, and allowing a pair of walks.
Prescott took the lead 1-0 in the third, when Rhett Pearce doubled, stole third, and scored on a wild pitch. The Wolves tied the game when a Jacob McLeod hit a two out double, that bounced off the chalk down the left field line, scoring the runner who had walked.
In the fourth, Ashton Hubbs knocked in Korey Schwartz and Ray Chairez with a double, putting the Badgers back on top 3-1. Seth Sweet-Chick’s fifth home run of the season, this time a two run homer in the top of the fifth, tied the game at three.
Estrella Foothills moves on to face #1 Mesquite.
ESTRELLA FOOTHILLS WOLVES 4, PRESCOTT BADGERS 3
Innings - 123 456 7 - R H E
Estrella Foothills 000 120 1 - 4 6 2
Prescott 001 200 0 - 3 8 1
#9 Estrella Foothills 4, #8 PRESCOTT 3
#4 Canyon Del Oro 11, #13 Douglas 5
#2 Salpointe Catholic 11, #15 Thunderbird 1
#3 Lee Williams 10, #14 Pueblo Magnet 1
#8 Vista Grande 10, #11 Catalina Foothills 0
#7 Saguaro 8, #10 Greenway 2
#5 Seton Catholic Prep 6, #4 Canyon Del Oro 4
#2 Salpointe Catholic 14, #7 Saguaro 9