Jack Berger hit a home run and cashed in five RBIs, and the Northland Prep baseball Spartans outlasted the Page Sand Devils on Saturday, using a six-run sixth inning to secure the 17-16 victory at Sinagua Middle School.
Ranked No. 19 in the 2A Conference, the Spartans erased a 14-11 Sand Devils advantage with the late-inning rally after holding 3A Page scoreless in the top half of the frame. Getting production up and down the lineup, seven of Northland Prep's total 11 hitters drove in at least one run, with Berger leading the hot-hitting day and Bennett Wojcik driving in three runs.
Wojcik finished 4 for 4, including a triple and two of his team's six total doubles, helping the Spartans win their second straight game and improve to 7-5 as they make a push to get inside the 2A state playoffs bubble.
Connor Barta and Dawson Messick each recorded two doubles for Northland Prep, which notched 18 total hits on the way to completing the two-game sweep of Page in the regular season for the second consecutive year.
The homer was Berger's first of the season. He went 2 for 3, scored three runs and drew two walks as the Spartans handed the 30th-ranked Sand Devils their second straight loss and pushed them to a 5-11 overall record.
Wojcik and Jacob Marquez both scored four runs while helping Northland Prep outslug Page. The Sand Devils, who lost the first meeting between the ballclubs 18-3 in Page, answered the Spartans' five-run first inning with seven runs in the top of the third and held the lead going into the sixth inning. Page scored two runs in the bottom of the final inning, but came up short of keeping the game alive.
Northland Prep caps off a four-game homestand with another 3A team on Monday, taking on the Tuba City Warriors at 3:45 p.m. and seeking to avenge a 20-0 rout in Tuba City when the teams first met this season.
CASA GRANDE 5, FLAGSTAFF 4
The Eagles came up short against the Cougars in Casa Grande Saturday as Elijah Cordova had three RBIs for the home team in the meeting of the 4A schools.
Now loser of three of their last five games, Flagstaff finds itself searching for answers as the crosstown rivalry series with the Coconino Panthers starts next week. With the loss, the ninth-ranked Eagles moved to 9-4 overall as the No. 29 Cougars bounced back from a 19-9 mercy-rule loss to No. 22 Higley.
TRACK AND FIELD
Luke Hagaman and Bryant Palmer went 1-2 for Coconino, and Flagstaff had Maddy Christopher and the boys 4x800-meter squad walk away from Saturday's Seventh annual Pioneer Invitational with gold medals in Phoenix.
Palmer launched himself to a PR height of 12-06 for silver, hitting the Division III's automatic qualifying mark as well, with Hagaman winning the event at 13 feet flat. Michael Helwig was the third Coconino competitor to finish in the top 10, taking sixth place at 11-06 for the Panthers, who finished sixth as a team out of 14 schools.
Christopher had her best 800m of the season, clocking a 2:23.95 for a first-place finish. The Eagles senior just missed the D-II auto qualifier of 2:23.12. Chloe Painter was fourth in the event at a PR time of 2:26.25 for the Eagles, and she was paced by teammate Brianna White, who finished fifth at 2:26.59, a season record.
The boys side for the Eagles was led by Alan Hagerman, Gabrial Harju, Max Davis and Spencer Smith, the members of the first-place 4x800m team that clocked an 8:16, a provisional result that became the third-fastest time in D-II as of Saturday. In the 800m, Riley Human just missed the auto qualifier with a PR of 2:00.64 that landed him in fifth place.
Kaelynn Ashley of Coconino finished fourth in the 1600m with a season-best time of 5:32.45. In the 3200m, Coconino's Hope Saxton finished fifth at 12:43.70.
Madeline Wilson of Flagstaff finished third in the 100m hurdles in 16.52, and Max Davis of Flagstaff ran a PR in the 3200m for fourth place in 10:16.74.
Also showing strong performances in the field for the Panthers, Zack Christopher threw a 45-06.5 in the shot put for second place, with teammate Dawson Buckley unloading a 44-05 for third place. Also in the event, Aaron Tafoya hurled his shot put a PR distance, hitting 41-04.75 for seventh place.
Meanwhile, on the field for the Coconino girls, Kortnee Begaye took third place in the shot put on a PR throw of 32-07.50, just inches off an auto qualifier. Coconino's Maya Tijerin threw a 30-07 for fifth place in the shot put. Begaye was fifth in the discuss at 98-03.50.
Corinna Haines hit a PR and provisional height in the pole vault for the Eagles at 8-06. Flagstaff's Anna Harmon ran a 63.90 for fifth place and Calista Chaffin ran a PR 64.43 for fifth and seventh place, respectively, in the 400m.
Taking a break from the regular-season schedule, the Northland Prep Spartans played in the Chandler Prep Invite on Friday and Saturday.
Drew Parker and Adam Nicol finished the tournament undefeated and earned the overall wins at No. 3 and No. 2 singles. Joey Haertzen and Reilley Leudde fell in the championship match of the No. 1 doubles bracket. Fred Gooding won three of his five matches in the No. 1 singles bracket while Markus Moezzi and Tommy Acker won two of their five matches in the No. 2 doubles bracket.