Two Southern Arizona softball teams with two very different backgrounds take the same field Monday night with the same goal — to raise a state championship trophy.
Third-seeded San Manuel can join an elite club by capturing its third straight Division IV state crown while No. 6 Empire makes its first-ever title game appearance in its brief history. Both squads play in a championship doubleheader on Monday at ASU’s Farrington Stadium starting at 5:15 p.m. in Tempe.
The No. 3 Miners take on fifth-seeded Superior in the first game and then Empire plays top-seeded Payson in the nightcap scheduled to start at 7:45.
“Now that we’re there we might at well go win it,” Empire coach Shannon Woolridge said following the Ravens’ semifinal win Saturday. “That’s our focus now. I’m glad everyone is excited but we’re going to get refocused and then we’ll go be the winner on Monday night.”
The two title games Monday night kick off a week filled with postseason play baseball and softball, the only two remaining spring sports in action. Here’s a look at what to watch:
Baseball: Roughly 20 miles away from Farrington Stadium, both Salpointe Catholic and Sunnyside will be at Maryvale Baseball Park trying to keep their seasons alive after losing in the winner quarterfinals of the Division II state tournament on Friday.
The second-seeded Lancers face No. 4 Peoria Sunrise Mountain at 4 p.m. in their first game since a wild-and-crazy 16-15 loss to No. 3 Canyon del Oro. No. 5 Sunnyside, which lost 4-2 against top-seeded Tucson High in the last week, plays defending state champion Phoenix Greenway at 6:30 p.m. in a win-or-go-home contest.
The winners move on to the next round of single-elimination play on Thursday.
Softball: Second-seeded Salpointe Catholic and No. 4 Cienega play in opposite quarterfinal games at Rose Mofford Sports Complex scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. If both win, they’ll meet Thursday for a trip to next Monday’s championship game.
A loss for either team would create a much tougher scenario: They would have to win three games in three nights to reach the final.
Salpointe, which has won 13 straight games, poured it on late in a 12-4 win against No. 7 Canyon del Oro on Thursday night while the Bobcats took down Tucson High 14-0 for its seventh straight win. Cienega topped the Lancers 3-2 on March 20.
Baseball: It’ll be a showdown for the ages when No. 3 Canyon del Oro lines up against top-seeded Tucson High for a trip to the Division II state championship.
The two are set to play at Maryvale Baseball Park on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. but there is a possibility the game will be moved to Hi Corbett Field. An announcement could come Monday.
Not only is the clash a rematch of the Class 5A championship game in 2002, but it’s also a chance for CDO to avenge its last loss, 10 games ago.
Tucson topped the Dorados 3-1 on April 18 as junior pitcher Jose Contreras struck out 12 and held CDO to just four hits over seven innings.
While the winner moves on to next week’s state final, the loser plays again Saturday in a single-elimination game.
Baseball: Last spring it was Palo Verde that plowed through the Division III state tournament to capture its first state championship. Now Walden Grove is following in the footsteps of the Titans.
The 18th-seeded Red Wolves have pulled off three straight upsets — including a win over the No. 2 seed — and now take on third-seeded Fountain Hills in the Division III state semifinals on Friday at Surprise Stadium. With a win, Walden Grove would move on to Saturday night’s state final where top-seeded Phoenix Northwest Christian would likely be waiting.
Baseball: Desert Christian can close out the final full week of the 2014-15 high school sports season by winning its third straight Division IV state championship.
The Eagles, winner of 21 straight games, take on second-seeded Kearny Ray at Maryvale Baseball Park at 7 p.m., following a Division II semifinal game.
Senior pitcher Andrew Edwards struck out 11 over seven two-hit innings in Saturday’s 10-1 win over No. 5 Glendale Joy Christian.
Desert Christian (31-1) has cruised in three playoff games, outscoring foes by 30 runs. The Eagles beat Ray 8-0 on April 14.
Contact high school sports coordinator Daniel Gaona at 807-7761 or email@example.com. On Twitter: @DanielGaona13