Gilbert erupts to take down Mustangs en route to title game
Sprinting home, there was only one option for Dallas Center-Grimes’ Bryce Jermier — Up.
He was fully committed to getting on the board for the Mustangs in the fourth inning and in just one of many physical plays of the day, the senior dug into his background to leap over Gilbert catcher Jake Shedarowich at the plate. A successful landing would put two-seed DCG (18-4) up 5-1. But it was three-seed Gilbert (23-3) that won the battle at the plate to stop the bleeding with the called out to set up what could be the greatest inning in Tiger history en route to a 14-7 semifinal win Friday.
There was no stepping off the gas as Gilbert was determined to make a comeback bid for its first title game appearance since losing the 2011 championship.
“It’s amazing,” Gilbert head coach Jeremy Eldred said. “These seniors deserve it. They’ve battled out there every day and do a lot. It’s fun to be out there every day.”
With the bases loaded four times, the Tigers primed themselves with a nine-run inning. Virtually everyone got a piece of the scoreboard as Gilbert circled through the order with 15 plate appearances.
On the afternoon as a whole, eight Tigers scored or drove in at least one run. But it was Nick Chasey’s show as he went 3-of-4 with four runs and four RBI after kicking off Gilbert’s fifth inning with the first hit and was also the last of the nine runs. Tucker Hanson also had three runs, trailed by Easton Johnson’s two runs to go with his three hits.
“I had a nice hit (after Tucker Hanson’s walk) and then kind of just kept passing it along to the next guy,” Chasey said and added how strong a presence the dugout’s energy was for the momentum shift.
Not only did the Tigers widen the gap, they completely reversed the game on a dime as it was just moments earlier in the bottom of the fourth that DCG had the game in their hands. Right before Jermier’s flying attempt at the plate, the Mustangs had scored two runs off a Caleb Dicken double to take a 4-1 lead.
“After the second inning I said it’s the team that’s able to make adjustments that’s going to win this game. And I just said, ‘They just made theirs. What are we going to do?’” Eldred said. “I challenged them. We came back out and made adjustments. We put balls in play and made things happen. They stepped up as they traditionally do.”
Those adjustments didn’t stop, either for the Tigers. They’d hang another four runs on the Mustangs the following inning despite facing a two-out count. Once again, it was Chasey that pushed the game forward with an RBI single soon followed by a dagger of a triple from Eli Eldred in the top of the sixth.
Dallas Center looked to reverse fortune with one last swing but could only strike up two extra runs. This marks the Mustangs’ first loss of the season when scoring at least five runs.
Isaac Boley led the team with two runs and an RBI off two hits. Caden Grimes also scored twice, with Caleb Dicken and Logan Smith driving in two runs as well.
“We certainly wanted to be able to play on Saturday. Feels good to get here. Feels good to have a season,” Boley said. “We swung it well. We put the ball in play, didn’t have that many strikeouts. Didn’t watch too many pitches either. Their bats were also good. But that’s the outcome of the game. Just the way it goes.”