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High School : : General
Arizona Playoff Preview (part II)
Published: Sunday, May 08, 2011

PG High School previews the Arizona State Playoffs. In part II PG looks at the top teams, top players, and makes its’ picks for both divisions of Class 4A as well as Class 1-3A.View part I here.


4A Division I (Bracket)

The Favorites

Saguaro- The defending champs look poised to repeat after an impressive 30-4 regular season. The Sabercts don't have one star that carries them but they have several very good players and a lot of talent throughout their roster. 

Sunrise Mountain- The tourney's top seed has a good team and a good draw. The Mustangs took their fifth loss of the season in the regular season finale against one of the top pitchers the state (Scott Squier), it could also prove to be the final loss of the year.

Players to Watch

Michael Howard, LHP/1B, Prescott- The top ranked LHP in the state makes Prescott a very dangerous three seed and they are the favorite in just about any game with Howard is on the hill.

Austin Byler, 3B, Sunrise Mountain- Strong well built left handed hitter who racked up a crazy triple slash line of .517/.705/1.172 for the season.

Chris Freudenberg, LHP, Saguaro- Tall athletic lefty with good command who gives the defending champs a shot to win every time he takes the mound.

 

Toughest Road

Saguaro- Getting the two seed rather than the one means having Prescott on the same side of the bracket which will be a tough matchup for anyone. Saguaro has the ability to win the title but they'll have to earn it with very tough tests back to back at the end.

Sleepers

Prescott- A very dangerous three seed with the top pitcher in the tournament, not so much a sleeper as the third favorite.

Cienga- Went 9-0 in the month of April and took care of Nogales in the first round 6-3. Will be tough to get past Sunrise Mountain but they are hot at the right time and cannot be overlooked.


PG’s Pick

History repeats itself and Saguaro defends their title, this is a team that is deep and consistent that looks to be the most capable of putting together four good games in a row. They're not an overwhelming favorite by any means, but they are deep, consistent and experienced.


4A Division II (Bracket)

The Favorites

Greenway-  When they're playing well they are the best team in 3A, but consistency has been an issue at times. They've beaten quality teams and they've lost to teams they should have beaten.

Thunderbird- The top seed rolled through the regular season with an impressive 24-3 run thanks to a prolific offense that has now put up double digit runs in five consecutive games.

Players to Watch

Scott Squier, LHP/1B, Greenway- Tall flamethrowing lefty who has reportedly worked in the 90-93 MPH range with his fastball this spring and has been very tough on opponents, going 9-1 with a 1.77 ERA and 80 strikeouts over 51 innings. Also hit .457 with 3 HRs and 20 XBH in 81 ABs.

Taylor Scott
, RHP/SS, Notre Dame Prep- Works comfortably in the upper 80s with good command of his fastball that he mixes in with a good slider. Good offensive tools at the plate with a short swing and a quick bat. Scott will be a key player for Notre Dame who has the potential to spark them to a deep run.

Toughest Road

Liberty- They already had a pretty tough draw with Arcadia in the first round, now they get top seed Thunderbird and if they can pull the upset there Notre Dame could be a tough matchup in the semis.

Sleeper

Notre Dame Prep- Ignore the regular season W-L record, they played a very strong schedule and the experience should pay off this time of year. The talent is there and this is a team you can't overlook.

PG’s Pick

This is one of the tougher brackets to pick a winner from with several teams that have a good chance and no clear cut favorite whose completely head and shoulders above the rest. In a field like this picking the team with the best pitcher is the smart play so we'll go with Greenway.


Class 3A (Bracket)

The Favorite

Blue Ridge
- The top seed has rolled through their first two games, winning by a combined score of 30-1. After a 27-2 regular season this comes as no surprise. What would be a surprise is someone other than than the Yellowjackets holding up the trophy next week.

Player to Watch

Sebastian Kessay, LHP/1B, Blue Ridge- The big lefty has racked up video game statistics, going 10-0 with a Save in 11 appearances (10 starts) with 120 strikeouts over 57 innings and posted a 1.11 ERA.

Toughest Road

River Valley- They've scored 11 runs in each of their first two playoff games, but they'll be facing an opponent in the semis that has allowed just one total run this tournament. Something has to give.

Sleeper

Holbrook- The Cinderella run continues for the ten seed who find themselves one game away for the title game. Estrella Foothills has played well this tourney and will be a big obstacle.

PG’s Pick

Blue Ridge
has simply been playing too well not to pick them. As long as they stay focused and play to their ability they should be the state champs


Class 2A (Bracket)

The Favorite

Northwest Christian- The top remaining seed (#2) has had a fairly uneventful run to this point, with their 8-4 win in the second round being the closest game they've played yet.

Player to Watch

Ryan Kelly, C/SS, Valley Christian- Crushed 18 Home Runs in 28 regular season games while batting .548. Combined with teammate Jeff Paschke (.656 AVG) for 34 Home Runs on the season.

Toughest Road

River Valley- They've scored 11 runs in each of their first two playoff games, but they'll be facing an opponent in the semis that has allowed just one total run. Something has to give.

Sleeper

Yuma Catholic- They've been on fire of late, winning twelve straight, including an 8-4 win over Scottsdale Christian, who they meet in the semifinals.

PG’s Pick

We're going to go with the hot hand here and take eight seed Yuma Catholic who is coming off a win over top seed Wilcox. The _ are riding a winning streak and have already beaten their semifinal opponent a few weeks ago.


Class 1A (Bracket)

The Favorite

Tanque Verde
- The top 1A team in southern Arizona has breezed through not only the regular season (23-2) but also the first two rounds of the plaoyffs, winning by a combined score of 30-0 in a total of ten innings for a pair of mercy rule victories.

Player to Watch

Mark Harris, RHP/SS, Tanque Verde- Harris has overmatched opponents on the mound and at the plate all year. On the mound he went 11-0 in 11 starts, throwing a complete game every time out while racking up 96 strikeouts over 61 innings and posting a 1.03 ERA. He also hit .600 with 7 Home Runs and 45 RBIs.

Sleeper

Gila Bend- The lowest remaining seed in the tourney is also the defending champions. That playoff experience has payed dividends thus far as they've pulled out some tough games against quality opponents in the early rounds.


PG's Pick

When Mark Harris pitches Tanque Verde wins. We expect Harris to pitch...


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