Rancho baseball players broke their postgame huddle Saturday night by chanting “State on me, state on three” in reference to their goal — winning the Class 4A state championship.
Playoffs don’t begin until May. But the Rams already have one trophy to add to their mantle.
Rancho (5-1) rolled to a 10-4 victory over Arbor View to claim the Diamondback Kickoff Tournament title at neutral-site host Desert Oasis.
Rams players celebrated by kissing the championship trophy and posing for pictures as coach Manny Llamas watched in approval.
“If we can put up five runs and our pitches can shut everyone down, that’s going to be a great confidence booster,” he said. “We’ve still got some stuff to work on, but I’m excited for this year. I’m excited for these guys.”
The Rams played two games Thursday and Friday, and posted a 3-1 record to earn a spot in the semifinals Saturday afternoon against the Diamondbacks.
They coasted to a 14-2 victory over the hosts to set up their showdown with the Aggies (2-3-1), then scored four runs in the top of the first en route to a decisive five-inning victory.
Senior infielder Chayse Baker hit a two-run homer in the top of the third inning, and teammates Layton Walls, Kagen Kennedy and Matthew Baughn drove in two runs apiece to give starter Carlos Hernandez more than enough run support.
Baker said he was happy for the opportunity to play in a tournament early in the season.
“The game only lasts so long,” he said. “To be able to play this many games with this group of guys, it’s something amazing.”
Rancho 14, Desert Oasis 2 — At Desert Oasis, Edarian Williams went 2-for-3 with a double, a homer and five RBIs to lead the Rams past the Diamondbacks in five innings in the semifinals.
Jimmy Gamboa went 3-for- with two runs, and Joey Walls had a homer and two RBIs for Rancho, which scored 10 runs in the fourth inning.
Chris Verdugo went the distance, allowing five hits and striking out one, to get the win.
Arbor View 7, Centennial 4 — At Desert Oasis, the Aggies used a seven-run third inning to top the Bulldogs in the semifinals.
Arbor View had seven hits in the inning, and took advantage of a pair of errors to score five unearned runs.
Trey Urban led off the inning with a single, and later added an RBI double. He finished 2-for-2.
Tyler Whitaker was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, and John Edwards drove in two runs for the Aggies.
Ethan Anderson allowed one earned run oon four hits in five innings to get the win. Austin Pfeifer struck out three in two hitless innings to earn a save.
Kian Wilbur was 2-for-4 with a triple and two runs for Centennial.
Palo Verde 5, Bishop Manogue 4 — At Green Valley, Scott Cosby hit a sacrifice fly to score Josiah Cromwick with one out in the bottom of the eighth to give the Panthers the win over the Miners in a consolation game.
Cromwick led off the eighth with a triple.
Jacob Godman and Karsonne Winters also tripled for Palo Verde.
Green Valley 12, Sierra Vista 7 — At Green Valley, Colton Rambur went 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and two RBIs to lead the Gators past the Mountain Lions in a consolation game.
Max Leuga was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI, Scott Gruber was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI and Joe DiGiacomo added two hits and a run for Green Valley.
Isaiah Williams went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs to lead Sierra Vista. Alex Chavira was 2-for-4 with a triple, a run and an RBI, and teammate Daymien Yohner went 2-for-4 for the Mountain Lions.