The senior outfielder went 3-for-3, scored four runs, knocked in four and walked twice in the Warriors’ 17-6 triumph over J.I. Burton in the Region 1D baseball semifinals at Virginia-Wise’s Burchell Stallard Field.
“He is a spark plug,” Chilhowie coach Jeff Robinson said of Sanchez. “When he gets on, we usually score a lot of runs.”
Chilhowie (22-1) scored four runs in the first, three in the second and four in the third inning in building an 11-6 lead.
“I’m glad we brought our bats today,” Robinson said. “We definitely needed them.”
After falling behind 7-2 after two innings, Burton (10-12) got back in the game with a four-run third.
Jonah Cochrane drew a leadoff walk and Derrick Allen singled to put the first two on.
After the Warriors botched a sacrifice bunt attempt, Cochrane and Allen came around to score.
Caleb McCurdy’s double made it a 7-5 game and Burton pulled within a run on an infield RBI single by Austin Jones.
The Raiders could get no closer, however, after Chilhowie put the game out of reach with three-run fifth and sixth innings. Matthew Delp and Ethan Armstrong each had an RBI in the fifth and Sanchez had an RBI double in the sixth to help seal the deal.
Chilhowie’s Ben Elrod came on in relief to throw two innings of hitless ball to back Ray Berry, who earned the win by tossing five innings. Berry allowed five hits, walked four and struck out seven while allowing just three earned runs.
The Warriors pounded out 17 hits, three apiece by Armstrong, Logan Branson and Delp. Austin Jones went 2-for-4 with two RBIs to lead Burton.
Raiders skipper Jacob Caudill saw things to build on in the loss.
“We started the season 0-4, but these kids just kept coming in every day and working their butts off,” he said. “We were very young this year, but we kept playing hard and battling.”
Chilhowie advanced to play Patrick Henry at 5 p.m. on Wednesday in the regional championship game at Emory & Henry. The Rebels beat Holston 7-4 in the other semifinal.
Both regional finalists earned a berth in next week’s state tournament.