Chaparral baseball defeats Arcadia in push to playoffs

A Chaparral runner slides into home while senior Will Fuenning signals his teammate safe during a seven run third inning for the Chaparral Firebirds. (Photo courtesy of Jake Trybulski)

The Chaparral High School baseball team defeated the Arcadia High School Titans 11-5 in a region matchup Tuesday night behind sophomore Trevor Long’s four RBIs.

The win brings the Firebirds to 5-1 in conference play putting them atop the Northeast Valley region and 12-13 overall with just three games remaining in the regular season. The Arcadia loss drops the Titans to 3-5 in conference play and puts them at 6-18 overall.

Arcadia pitchers struggled getting ahead early in the game and Chaparral took advantage by scoring nine runs in the first three innings.

“Our guys have a plan and an approach at the plate and they know what they want to do,” Chaparral Head Coach Nicholas Steward said after the game. “[Having conviction] with what you want to do is the most important thing and we got that going for us right now.”

Chaparral racked up 15 hits in one night and had four different players with multiple hits. Sophomore third baseman Trevor Long led the way with four hits including a solo home run in the top of the second inning and a 2-RBI triple that helped break the game open in a seven-run third inning.

Chaparral sophomore Trevor Long. (Photo Courtesy of Jake Trybulski)

“First at-bat I was thinking first pitch fastball and going after it, I got the pitch and I stroked one,” Long said. “After that I really looked for off-speed and to really just stay back looking to drive it up the middle.”

Arcadia Head Coach Troy Gerlach said Chaparral’s offense shined throughout the night.

“You got to tip your caps to Chap, I mean they swung the bats well,” Coach Gerlach said. “We made some very good pitches and they absolutely hit the crap out of the ball to say it nicely, they do a great job offensively.”

Chaparral may have hit the ball well, but Firebirds starting pitcher Clark Candiotti had himself a big night on the mound.

The junior went six innings, allowing five hits, giving up three earned runs and struck out 10 along the way. The right-handed pitcher had a nice fastball/curveball mix working and was ahead in the count often throwing 16 first pitch strikes.

“When you get that many runs out there, it makes the game so much easier and just easier to pitch,” Candiotti said. “I just thought about getting ahead and staying ahead, that’s my biggest key in every game I pitch.”

A bright spot for the Arcadia lineup Tuesday was catcher Mitch Arndt. The senior cracked a solo home run in the bottom of the second and a 2-RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to give the Titans some late life before the Firebirds were eventually able to stop the late comeback attempt from the Titans.

With the win, Chaparral continues their hot play improving to 10-3 over their last 13 games after a 2-10 start. The Firebirds have outscored their opponents 137-56 in that span.

“We’ve made a lot of adjustments putting guys in different spots,” Coach Steward said. “Some of the young guys with inexperience have come along and they have gotten some quality at-bats, some quality innings and we have great senior leadership.”

Next up, Chaparral will start a two-game series against Paradise Valley High School at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 19. Arcadia will play Perry High School at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 19.

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