PHOENIX - Tucson High School had no hits all night. Not one. Zero through the first four innings.
It looked as if the Badgers had forgotten to bring their bats to Phoenix Municipal Stadium for their game against No. 10 Scottsdale Chaparral on Thursday night.
Then, suddenly, second-seeded Tucson started looking like the team it was all season.
Tucson (28-4) posted five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on five hits on its way to a 6-1 win in the third round of the Division I state tournament.
"We've been waiting for that all year," senior shortstop and captain Alex Robles said. "We wait too long, and then after the fifth we just turn it on, and that's what we did today."
The Badgers will play No. 14 Phoenix Mountain Pointe on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Tempe Diablo Stadium with a spot in the state semifinals on the line.
"We're excited for the opportunity, and that's what we worked for all season," Tucson coach Oscar Romero said.
"Nothing is unexpected, we're expecting this to happen. We're expecting each game to be tough, to be a tough contest, but we're expecting to get wins."
Robles drove in the first run of the fifth inning to give Tucson a 2-1 lead, its first of the game. Senior Felipe Peralta followed with a two-run double down the right field line to break the game open.
"I was just trying to put the ball in play so I could get an RBI and get someone in," Peralta said. "Luckily that went right down the line, and both guys scored."
Prior to senior Isaac Federico's single to lead off the fifth, Tucson had walked seven times - but only managed to bring in one run, on a bases-loaded walk.
Tucson starter Ryan Norrix threw all seven innings, giving up one run on five hits and striking out six to improve to 8-1. The five-run advantage made the final six outs a little easier.
"The breathing room definitely helped, but the mindset has to be the same," Norrix said. "You just go out there pitch by pitch, batter by batter and take it one step at a time.
Norrix's performance gave Tucson its 12th straight win and has the Badgers going to their home away from Cherry Field.
"I'm excited about Diablo," he said. "All great things have happened for us there."
The Badgers had plenty of energy during the game and even more after, but they say they are still focused on the big picture.
"It's big, but we've got to stay focused," Robles said. "We've got three more to go, and we're going to bring back that state championship."