GLENDALE - Forced to play catch up early, 11th-seeded Catalina Foothills was never able to find its groove against No. 2 Scottsdale Saguaro in a rematch of last year's state championship.
The 5-1 loss at Camelback Ranch Stadium in Friday's semifinal of the 4A-I state tournament ends the Falcons' nine-game winning streak, putting their final record at 20-12.
"We've been down a lot this year but we just couldn't get the bats going today," said Falcons coach Lance Robertson. "But we have nothing to hang our head about. Our seniors pulled us through there in the middle of the season when we were losing some games and we got on a hot streak and made the playoffs when no one else thought we would make it."
After retiring Saguaro in order in the top of the first, Falcons pitcher Reid Hunter gave up a lead-off triple to Austin Anderson, who was brought home by Zach Gibbons. The Sabercats added two more runs in the second inning to push their lead to 3-0.
"It's tough having to play from behind but we never gave up," said Foothills first baseman and relief pitcher Preston Jamison. "We battled our hearts out against a really good team. No one thought we'd be here and we proved a lot of people wrong. We deserved to be here."
Foothills scored its only run in the fourth inning when Hunter scored on a grounder by Robbie Gerhauser. The Sabercats countered with one run in the fourth and another in the sixth to make the final score 5-1.
Saguaro pitcher Mike Benson finished with nine strikeouts while allowing one run and six hits.