Tyler Fallwell pitched an eight-inning shutout against the defending champions in the Division III state semifinals to help Palo Verde reach the title game for the first time in school history.
He didn’t stop there.
One night later, the right-hander came in for a one-out save with the tying run on third base to cap off his high school career.
Fallwell, who has signed with Cochise College, went 9-0 with a 1.24 ERA and batted .392 with 18 RBIs to be named the Star’s Player of the Year. He struck out 98 batters including 11 in 1-0 win over Fountain Hills in the semifinals when he gave up just two hits.
Desert Christian junior Zach Malis was also strongly considered for the honor after he had another stellar year and helped Desert Christian repeat as Division IV state champions. Malis has a good chance of being the Player of the Year next spring while the Eagles could very well capture their third straight title.
Aside from Fallwell and Malis, Catalina Foothills’ Luis Gonzalez, Sierra Vista Buena’s Matt Duce and, of course, Sahuaro’s Alex Verdugo were all considered based on all-around strong play.
Nogales senior captains Al Cruz and Justin Felix were also in the conversation after they helped the Apaches reach the state finals for the first time since 1981.
But no one else in Southern Arizona made as big a difference for their team as Fallwell did for Palo Verde.