High school state tournaments: Badgers look for first baseball title since '88

2013-04-30T00:00:00Z High school state tournaments: Badgers look for first baseball title since '88Daniel Gaona Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 30, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Longtime Tucson High baseball coach Oscar Romero has had a lot of special teams.

But there is something extra special about this year's squad.

The second-seeded Badgers host No. 15 Sunnyside at 6:30 p.m. today at Cherry Field in what they hope is the beginning of a run to the Division I state title.

Tucson (26-4) beat the Blue Devils twice this season and has won 10 straight games since its lone regular-season loss.

Romero believes this team has all the ingredients to win a title, including a star player in senior Alex Robles who recently signed with Austin Peay.

The Badgers won back-to-back titles in 1987 and 1988 and last made an appearance in the state final in 2002. Here are three similarities Romero found between this year's team and those three:

CHEMISTRY

Romero said his players act like brothers, which helps keep everyone on track.

"They can call each other out and also know how to bring each other back," he said. "That's a unique thing you can't have happen unless you have that family-type of attitude."

Of course, having 15 seniors on the team also helps. Robles, Francisco Rodriguez and Emilio Melendez are three of them. They've been playing together for a long time and been dreaming about winning a state title.

"It would mean the world," Robles said. "We've been talking about this since we were like 12."

TALENT

Robles, who is batting .473 with 25 RBIs, will be pitching for the Badgers. He is 8-0 on the mound with a 1.51 ERA and threw a two-hitter against the Blue Devils on March 6.

Not only are his numbers good, but his ability to put the team on his back is huge, Romero said.

"He's the most talented kid; he's the guy that gets everyone up when they're down," Romero said. "When Alex goes, we go."

But Robles, who bats clean up, isn't all the Badgers have. The last time Tucson faced Sunnyside, he was intentionally walked twice after he got a hit early. He's not concerned because he knows there are other hitters around him.

"The talent is God-given of course, but we all have confidence in our practice," Melendez said. "We work hard so it makes us be able to perform."

RESILIENCY

In their current 10-game winning streak, the Badgers have had seven decided by two runs or fewer.

The biggest win in the current stretch was a 6-5 win over Canyon del Oro on April 11. Tucson was down 5-0 before it fought back and won in the bottom of the seventh. That was one of two one-run games in the last 10.

Rodriguez knows the team is familiar with being in a close battle, but he's hoping they don't fall behind early anymore.

"We need to come out in the first inning and start scoring," he said. "Just give it our all, not wait till the last inning to do our job."

State schedule

BASEBALL

Division I - Second round, 4 p.m.

• No. 15 Sunnyside at No. 2 Tucson

• No. 17 Cienega at No. 1 Scottsdale Desert Mountain

Division II - Second round, 4 p.m.

• No. 13 Catalina Foothills at No. 4 Sahuaro

• No. 11 Phoenix Arcadia at No. 6 Ironwood Ridge

• No. 10 Nogales at No.7 Flagstaff Coconino

• No. 16 Canyon del Oro at No. 1 Chandler Seton Catholic

Division III - First round

at Surprise Sports Complex

• No. 20 Winslow vs. No. 13 Empire, 4 p.m.

• No. 24 Rio Rico vs. No. 9 Payson, 6:30 p.m.

Division IV - First round

at Goodyear Baseball Complex South

• No. 20 Tanque Verde vs. No. 13 Tempe Prep, 4 p.m.

• First-round bye: No. 4 Desert Christian, No. 7 Pusch Ridge Christian

SOFTBALL

Division I - Second round, 4 p.m.

• No 15 Tucson at No. 2 Cienega

• No. 10 Mesa Desert Ridge at No. 7 Marana

• No. 12 Sunnyside at No. 5 Mesa Mountain View

Division II - Second round, 4 p.m

• No. 15 Sabino at No. 2 Canyon del Oro

• No. 13 Goodyear Desert Edge at No. 4 Ironwood Ridge

• No. 10 Sahuaro at No. 7 Phoenix Greenway

• No. 12 Salpointe Catholic at No. 5 Phoenix Paradise Valley

BOYS TENNIS

Division I - Quarterfinals

• No. 6 Scottsdale Chaparral vs. No. 3 Salpointe Catholic at Tucson Racquet Club, 3 p.m.

Division II - Quarterfinals

• No. 11 Scottsdale Saguaro at No. 3 Ironwood Ridge, 3 p.m.

• No. 10 Yuma Gila Ridge at No. 2 Catalina Foothills, 3 p.m.

Division III - Quarterfinals

• No. 6 St. Gregory vs. No. 3 Pusch Ridge Christian at El Conquistador, 3 p.m.

GIRLS TENNIS

Division I - Quarterfinals

• No. 13 Salpointe Catholic at No. 5 Phoenix Pinnacle, 3 p.m.

Division II - Quarterfinals

• No. 13 Sabino at No. 5 Ironwood Ridge, noon

• No. 6 Phoenix Arcadia at No. 3 Catalina Foothills, noon

• No. 7 Prescott at No. 2 Nogales, 3 p.m.

Division III - Quarterfinals

• No. 13 Pusch Ridge Christian vs. No. 5 Desert Christian at La Mariposa, 3 p.m.

On StarNet: Catch up on all the high school sports action at azstarnet.com/sports/high-school

Contact high school sports coordinator Daniel Gaona at dgaona@azstarnet.com or 807-7761. On Twitter @DanielGaona13

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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