No. 6 Canyon del Oro (24-8) will meet No. 9 Tucson (21-9) Thursday night in the Division II baseball playoffs. The elimination game set for Amphitheater High School at 6:30 p.m. will be the third time the two programs have met in the state playoffs if you count last year and this year.
It will also be the sixth time the two have met over the last two years including regular season and invitational games. The Dorados hold a 4-1 edge on The Badgers with the biggest wins coming in the 2015 semifinals and in the state championship game where CDO pulled out a 3-1 win.
Some might call it a heated or friendly rivalry of sorts (depending on who you talk to) but it’s also a rivalry that has an uncle in one dugout and a loving nephew in the other.
When Keith Francis returned to take over the CDO program last year he brought along Javier “Guero” Carmona to assist him at first base. Carmona has been a longtime youth coach and one of the kids he has coached over the years was his nephew, Tucson second baseman Jacob Federico.
“I always enjoy watching him play. Whether it’s from the same dugout, opposing dugouts or the stands,” Carmona said. “I’m really proud of the baseball player he’s worked to become.”
Federico is batting .326 with four doubles, four triples and two home runs. The junior also has eight stolen bases and has a .902 fielding percentage.
“Since little league up until my freshman year he’s always been my coach,” Federico said.
“From my very first ground ball to my first hit he’s been there. He’s been a father figure my whole life and I have so much respect for him! It’s truly something special to be able to play in such big games against him. He’s taught me so much about the game of baseball. With him being in the other dugout even after the game we’ll talk and he’ll tell me what I need to improve on or what I did good to continue to do it. He has a huge impact in my life but he will always be my coach and a person I go too in any situation.”
A large crowd is expected at Amphitheater Thursday night. Get there early.
Southern Arizona Playoff Schedule
Thursday, May 12
Division II Baseball
No. 10 Ironwood Ridge vs. No. 5 Greenway at Maryvale, 6:30 p.m. (Winner’s)
No. 6 Canyon del Oro vs. No. 9 Tucson at Amphi, 6:30 p.m. (Elimination)
Division II Softball (Rose Mofford)
No. 2 Ironwood Ridge vs. No. 4 Cactus, 6:30 p.m. (Winner’s)
No. 6 Salpointe vs. No. 5 Arcadia, 6:30 p.m. (Elimination)
Division II Boys Volleyball (Semifinals)
No. 2 Cienega vs. No. No. 3 Ironwood at Campo Verde, 5:30 p.m.
Friday, May 13
Division III Baseball (Surprise)
No. 7 Sahuarita vs. No 6 San Luis (Semifinals)
Division IV Baseball (Goodyear)
No. 1 Desert Christian vs. No. 4 Apache Junction (Semifinals)
Division III Golf (First Round)
Prescott Antelope Hills Golf Course, 10 a.m.
Saturday, May 14
Division III Golf (Second Round)
Prescott Antelope Hills Golf Course, 7:30 a.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