Sunnyslope punches ticket to DII state title game

It is not often that an 8th seed in a double elimination tournament makes it all the way to the championship game unscathed.

But that is the case this time around for the 8th seeded Sunnyslope Vikings as they knocked off the Saguaro Sabercats 9-2 from Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Thursday, pinching their ticket to the state title game next week.

The Vikings struck right from the beginning. With Sunnyslope already up 1-0, first baseman Royal Love created som separation on a base hit to left field which drove in two runs. Love showed no Love to Saguaro as he went two for two with two RBI’s, a double, a walk and a sac fly.

Saguaro would try and claw their way back into the game. With one run already in, senior Zack Gibbons would tack on another which cut the Sunnyslope lead to 5-2 after three innings.

Sunnyslope’s sophomore pitcher Calvin LeBrun was just to solid in the mound. Went the distance for the Vikings giving up seven hits, two runs, one walk and struck out four, leading his team to the state championship game.

“Early on I was dialed in, trying to make some pitches,” explained LeBrun. “Having a lead definitely makes you feel better about yourself so you can be more aggressive and we have great defense so I wasn’t worried about making errors or anything.”

The Vikings have been just about perfect in these playoffs to this point an their coach couldn’t ask for much more.

“I am proud of the boys, they are playing hard and they really believe in each other,” Sunnyslope head coach Jeff Shillington mentioned. “They work together and it’s fun to watch.”

Sunnyslope will get a long rest until Tuesday for the big game which will be at Phoenix Municipal Stadium at 7:00pm.

Who they face will be decided on Saturday when Saguaro and Liberty battle it out for the final spot in the title game.

For more coverage of the Arizona High School baseball playoffs, follow Jared Cohen on Twitter at @JaredPros2Preps.

A born and bred Arizonan, Jared has had great passion for the hometown teams all his life. He now channel's that passion into covering the pro, college and high school teams around the state as a Multimedia Reporter for Sports360AZ.