Hamilton, Basha stand out in crowded Premier baseball race SanTan Sun News

Hamilton, Basha stand out in crowded Premier baseball race

Hamilton, Basha stand out in crowded Premier baseball race
Sports and Recreation
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By Zach Alvira, Sports Editor

Year after year, the Premier Region seems to have a team in the hunt for the 6A prep baseball title.
This season is no different. Hamilton, Basha, Perry, Chandler and Brophy Prep all entered region play with winning records. Given the camaraderie among the Chandler district players, who have grown up playing with or against each other, region games bring out intense, yet friendly, battles.
Two of those giants met last week. Hamilton walloped Basha, 10-4 and 10-0. Strong pitching by Hamilton quieted Bashas’ big bats.
“I know at least five or six (Hamilton) guys I’ll go work out with on the weekends,” Basha senior infielder Cam LaLiberte said. “It’s always fun to come out, see friendly faces and play with them.”
LaLiberte, who has committed to Chandler-Gilbert Community College, leads Basha with a .514 batting average, 13 RBIs and a home run.
Jim Schilling, who has been at the helm at Basha since 2011, has confidence that his team (13-5) will bounce back. They’ve bought into a system that he believes will keep them poised and confident.
“We have some talented players,” Schilling said. “We just have to find a way to beat teams like that. Our schedule is a meat grinder. There’s no time for crying on our part. Our kids get after it. They’re a tight-knit family. They know how to win. I think we have done that so far to start the season.
“Hopefully we see these guys again.”
Hamilton’s ability to dominate one of the best teams in the state isn’t a fluke. The Huskies (14-4) went in as the sixth-ranked team in the nation according to MaxPreps, their only losses being close games against Desert Vista, Corona del Sol and Mountain View.
Huskies junior infielder Tyler Wilson went 3-for-3 with a 2-run homer, triple and double against the Bears. That comes after a sophomore season shortened by a shoulder injury. Seven games into it, Wilson dove for a back pick to first base. When he landed, his shoulder popped out of place.
“It was weird,” said Wilson, a Grand Canyon University commit. “It’s been a hard, long process. I just stayed positive and told myself it would be all good in the end.”
Before his injury, Wilson was batting .409 with 6 RBIs and 8 runs scored.
“He would have had a good year last year if he didn’t get hurt,” Hamilton coach Mike Woods said. “He’s a good worker and a talented young man. He’s been a big part of our success so far.”
The wins over Basha on back-to-back days moved Hamilton to the top of the Arizona Interscholastic Association rankings.
Now the Huskies prepare to dive deeper into region play as well as “freedom games” against Mountain Ridge, Desert Vista and Desert Ridge.
“Our guys are used to playing good competition,” Woods said. “There are no days off for us. We are always playing quality teams. On the personal side with the kids knowing those guys (at Basha), they get to talk a little smack with each other. It’s fun.
“But every game is important to us. Every game matters.”

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