Having lost to Sierra Vista Buena twice this spring, the Sunnyside baseball team was plenty fired up to host the No. 24 Colts in the first round of the Division II state playoffs Saturday.
The ninth-seeded Blue Devils were so fired up, in fact, that they scored eight runs in their first at-bat, cruising to a 10-3 win that put them in the second round of the tournament for the second straight season.
“My kids were ready to jump the gun, I guess,” coach Gabriel Moraga said. “They came out, jumped it, and ran with it. That’s what you’ve got to do in the state tournament, score early and score often.”
Sunnyside will go for its fourth straight win when it plays at No. 8 Flagstaff on Tuesday.
The Blue Devils (19-9) had won six of their last seven games before Saturday, with the lone loss in that stretch coming against Buena on April 16. They made sure the Colts didn’t get past them this time.
With the help of a throwing error, three runs scored on a two-out RBI single to right by Andres Catalan that put Sunnyside up 6-0. Then pitcher Johnny Rodriguez, who struck out three, hit an RBI triple and scored on a balk to cap off the eight-run inning.
Buena catcher Matt Duce led off the fourth inning with the Colts’ first hit of the game. Esteban Serino followed that with a home run, but Buena couldn’t get much going from there.
No. 14 Catalina Foothills 7, No. 19 Cienega 5: At Foothills, the Falcons (21-6) rallied from an early five-run hole to complete their biggest comeback of the season. RBI singles by Cienega’s Omar Rodriguez and Andre Jackson put the Bobcats up 5-0 in the second inning, but Falcons pitcher Luis Gonzalez settled down and allowed just one hit the rest of the game.
Timely situational hitting in the fourth and fifth innings by Gonzalez and Anthony DeNiro knotted the game at five. Then, after a sacrifice fly put Foothills ahead in the sixth, senior Austin Baldwin capped the rally off with a solo home run to left field, only the second of his career.
Saturday was Foothills’ second win against Cienega (17-11) in the past week, with both games being decided almost by a “coin flip,” as Foothills coach Jim Baldwin described it. The Falcons play No. 3 Prescott Valley Bradshaw Mountain in the second round Tuesday.
No. 10 Canyon del Oro 7, No. 23 Tucson 4: At CDO, junior Erick Migueles launched a pair of two-run homers to propel the Dorados to the second round, where they will face No. 7 Buckeye Verrado.
Migueles’ two home runs extended his total to 12 this season. Left-handed junior Gabe Benavides struck out four and gave up just four hits in 6º innings pitched.
Tucson junior Trevelle Hill matched Benavides until things unraveled for him in the fifth inning, when CDO pounced for four go-ahead runs. Badgers third baseman Joe Marquez finished with two singles and three RBIs.