Prescott All-Stars roll past Chino Valley; Majors final next
PRESCOTT — Smooth sailing would probably be an understatement if one had to describe Prescott’s run in the District 10 Majors All-Stars Tournament so far.
This Prescott team, whose core group of players are three-time defending champions, were heavy favorites coming into the double-elimination tournament and definitely have lived up to the hype.
In the first two games this week, the team defeated Prescott Valley and Williams by a combined score of 23-2, and it brushed aside Chino Valley 14-2 in the second round of the winner’s bracket on Thursday at Bill Vallely Field to advance to the finals.
“I thought [the boys] played hard, hit the ball hard, put it in play, put pressure on the other team and took quality at-bats,” Prescott skipper Terry Magnett said after the victory against Chino Valley. “We just got on a little bit of a roll there and got that momentum going and the kids played pretty good.”
Chino Valley was no slouch either, as the team was coming off a huge 31-0 win over Wickenburg in the first round of the winner’s bracket. However, Chino Valley appeared to hit a wall on Thursday thanks to strong efforts from a trio of Prescott’s pitchers and one too many lapses from their defense.
“We made multiple errors, so I think that didn’t help the situation,” Chino Valley manager Adam Schuster said. “I think had we not done that, we could’ve probably played a more competitive game for sure.”
Cooper Kasun got the starting nod on the mound for Prescott as he set the tone defensively by throwing two scoreless innings in a row. Despite his stellar performance, Magnett opted to pull him early in order to save his arm for a potential championship game. Relievers Cooper Magnett and Zane Gaul were just about as effective, only allowing two runs in the third inning.
“(Kasun) really set the tone early, throwing strikes and he’s just a real gamer,” Terry Magnett said. “He comes out every time and competes … and our defense has continued to play well the whole tournament.”
Prescott opened the scoring in the bottom of the first when a barrage of RBI singles from the likes of Cooper Magnett, Adrian Sanderford, Taylor Keppel, Kasun and Ethan Warren put them ahead 8-0. This essentially put the game away early as Chino Valley never recovered from there.
The Chino Valley offense did show signs of life in the third when relief pitcher Emilio Rocha laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Cole Peterson over to third base. This allowed Ivan Schuster to bring in Peterson with a single, and he eventually scored himself on a wild pitch.
Unfortunately for Chino Valley, the brief rally was quickly neutralized by insurance runs from Prescott before the run rule came into effect in the fourth inning.
The victory punched Prescott’s ticket to the finals on Saturday, a familiar setting for Terry Magnett and his players who will be ready to capture another title.
“We feel excited, but we still got a lot of respect for all the teams that remain. Prescott Valley, Bagdad and Chino are all quality teams,” Terry Magnett said. “We’re just kind of doing well so far, but we have a lot of respect for those other teams and we’ll be ready on Saturday.”
Chino Valley was sent down to the loser’s bracket but still has chance to reach the finals for a potential rematch with Prescott, something Adam Schuster still believes is very possible once his troops recover and refocus.
“I think the boys are going to be fired up tomorrow. They didn’t take this too lightly,” Schuster said. “They knew that the errors is what got to us … So they’re going to come back out here with a chip on their shoulder ready to rock and roll and show them what we got.”
Bagdad defeated Prescott Valley 12-6 on Thursday night at Bill Vallely Field.
Chino Valley and Bagdad will battle it out in the third round of the loser’s bracket at 6 p.m. Friday. The winner will move on to the final to play Prescott at 6 p.m. Saturday. If Prescott loses, a second game at 6 p.m. Sunday will be needed to determine the champion.
All games will be held at Bill Vallely Lower Field.
Aaron Valdez is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier of Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter at @Valaaron_94. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2031.