Second time’s the charm for ADM baseball at state
For the second straight season, the ADM baseball team will grace Principal Park and the Class 3A state baseball tournament. The Tigers (12-7) have proven themselves as one of the more formidable teams in the 3A field as they battle through the state tournament for the fifth time in program history.
Experience is a driving force behind success and for the Tigers, their experience has varied over the past two seasons. Going from a sub-state six seed a year prior to a number two seed expected to go far in 2020. Last season forced the Tigers to be road warriors through the postseason but this year, it’s been all home-field advantage for ADM.
“It’s always great to play on your home field where you know where all the bumps, nooks and crannies and how it plays,” said head coach Jason Book.
The entire postseason has been a drastic shift in perception for the Tigers, one that they have gladly accepted.
“Last year as a road team and sixth seed, you’re the underdog and nobody expects much from you,” said Book. “Now we enter and people expect more out of us.”
It’s been pretty much a balanced approach for the Tigers but it’s been an improvement in the power-hitting game that has taken the offensive spotlight at times. The Tigers will take on a battle with tournament third seed Gilbert already ranked fifth in the class with 38 doubles on the season, part of 46 overall extra-base hits on the year. Their 149 strikeouts on the season rank 13th among Class 3A teams spearheaded by seniors Zach Fuller and Chase Anderson who have compiled 48 and 39 strikeouts respectively. They will need all they can as they go against a Gilbert offense ranking fourth in the class in doubles (42).
“Gilbert is a good offensive team and the biggest thing for us is not giving them extra chances,” said Book. “They are a team that can really hurt you if you’re not careful so we need to have our A-game both on the mound and in the field.”
This will be just the third match-up between these two teams dating back to the 2014 campaign. Both teams have picked up one win in the series. This will be the chance for ADM to bring the all-time series in their favor while picking up their first state tournament victory in program history.
Both ADM and Gilbert have used bend but not break mentalities this season. ADM has averaged 5.6 runs scored per game while allowing an average of 4.4 while Gilbert has allowed 121 total hits on the season (only 106 for ADM) but has allowed just 2.3 runs on average to cross the plate. It will undoubtedly be both a pitchers duel and a slug-fest and it will begin tonight with first pitch set for 7:30 p.m.