Baseball: Empire 13, Payson 3: Ravens roll, clinch spot in state title game

2013-05-11T00:00:00Z 2013-05-11T13:09:21Z Baseball: Empire 13, Payson 3: Ravens roll, clinch spot in state title gameArizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The Empire high school baseball team is headed to the Division III state championship for the second time in the school's short history after defeating Payson 13-3 on Friday in Surprise.

The No. 13 Ravens (24-6) needed just five innings to down the No. 9 Longhorns (20-10).

Empire will play No. 3 Fountain Hills at 7 tonight at Surprise Stadium in its second state championship appearance since 2010.

The Ravens will be the lower seed for the fourth consecutive game.

Empire jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first with the help of a two-run homer by junior Connor Geurts.

"Scoring early is something we've been doing well," Empire coach Tom Belter said. "It forces other teams to get away from their game plan."

After two innings the Ravens pushed the lead to 6-0; by the end of the fourth it was 9-1.

Empire scored four more runs in the top of fifth to extend the lead to 13-1, bringing the run-rule into play.

Despite allowing two in the fifth, senior pitcher Colton Stokes improved to 10-0.

Sophomore Donny Sands finished with a team-high four hits and seven RBIs.

"We feel like we can beat anybody," Sands said.

Copyright 2015 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Download Flash Player

Latest Sports Video

More videos

Arizona softball: Get to know Mike the Tiger

Star sports reporter Zack Rosenblatt goes face-to-face with LSU's tiger. newsletters

Sign up for e-mail newsletters

Sports news and blog headlines, delivered nightly.

Midmorning update of local business headlines, daily.

Tucson-area obituaries, daily.

Receive the current day's weather forecast in your email!

What's Hot

Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...