18 teams from throughout the country are taking part in the Chris Moon Memorial Classic this week in Tucson including national power Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas. Teams from Utah, California, Colorado, Illinois are also in the field along with Arizona powers such as Canyon del Oro, Ironwood Ridge, Cienega and Tucson.
Moon was an All-State pitcher and outfielder from Tucson High who was drafted by the Atlanta Braves but chose to play for the University Arizona instead. Moon, like Pat Tillman of ASU, felt a higher calling during his freshman year and left baseball and the obvious path to a promising professional career to join the military so he could serve our country as a sniper.
Moon was targeted and killed by the enemy just two years later. His courageous and heroic story can be found here in an article run by The Atlantic. It is not an easy read if you are a parent but it is an important read.
His parents Marsha and Brian Moon were on hand during opening ceremonies on Tuesday night at Cherry Field. His sister Sunday and her daughter Semira sang the National Anthem and then Semira and Marsha threw out the first pitch.
Memorials, like the Chris Moon Memorial, are obviously named after coaches or players who are no longer with us. Celebrating their contributions to the game they loved is a small yet meaningful gesture especially to the families involved and the Moon family is right up there.
I am sure I speak for AllSportsTucson.com and the AIA in expressing our endless gratitude to the Moon family for your sacrifice. You sacrificed endless hours on the baseball fields while Chris was growing up and then you made the ultimate sacrifice so that others may one day follow in his footsteps. It is a sacrifice that can never be repaid but one that must forever be recognized.
We celebrate his life by taking the field in his name whether it be as a coach, player, umpire, parent or spectator.
15 games were held on Tuesday including the opening game between Tucson and Rancho High School from Las Vegas. Rancho jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first quarter and ultimately went on to defeat Tucson 11-2.
Rancho (7-2) collected 14 hits against Tucson (6-2) including two triples from Anthony Guzman. Sophomore pitcher Jimmy Gamboa picked up the win for the Rams as he scattered seven hits and collected seven strikeouts in his complete-game outing.
Down 3-0 in the bottom of the third, the Badgers looked like they were ready to make a comeback after George Arias picked up two RBIs on a bases-loaded single with no outs but Gamboa limited the damage.
Tuesday, March 22
At Cherry Field
Riverton (Utah) 3, Buena 0
Tucson 7, Boulder (Colorado) 5
Canyon del Oro 27, Locke (California) 0
Boulder (Colorado) 11, Cholla 4
Bishop Gorman (Nevada) 3, St. Laurence (Illinois) 2
Pueblo 10, Locke (California) 0
Riverton (Utah vs. Arvada West (Colorado), 5 p.m.
Rancho (Nevada) 11, Tucson 2
San Marcos (California) vs. Locke (California)
Pomona (Colorado) vs. St. Laurence (Illinois)
At Reid Park Annex
Ironwood Ridge 8, Arvada West (Colorado) 8
Ironwood Ridge 6, Buena 4
Cienega vs. Marana
Flowing Wells vs. Pomona (Colorado)
Flowing Wells 13, Marana 2
Wednesday, March 23
At Cherry Field
Canyon del Oro vs. Pueblo, 8 a.m.
Cholla vs. Rancho (Nevada), 8 a.m.
Cienega vs. Bishop Gorman, 11 a.m.
Boulder (Colorado) vs. Rancho (Nevada), 11 a.m.
Marana vs. Bishop Gorman (Nevada), 2 p.m.
Tucson vs. Cholla, 2 p.m.
Buena vs. Arvada West (Colorado), 5 p.m.
San Marcos (California) vs. Pueblo, 5 p.m.
Canyon del Oro vs. San Marcos (California), 8 p.m.
Ironwood Ridge vs. Riverton (Utah), 8 p.m.
At Reid Park Annex
Pomona (Colorado) vs. Cienega, 8 a.m.
Flowing Wells vs. St. Laurence (Illinois), 2 p.m.
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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here, on AZPreps365.com and on the pages of the Vail Voice and the Tanque Verde Voice. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com