The shift back to a conference alignment separated Canyon del Oro and Tucson by two levels with the Badgers competing in 6A and the Dorados in 4A. The two power-programs have met many times over the years, including the 5A championship in 2002 and the Division II championship only two years ago, but that possibly does not exist this year.
Still, with Keith Francis guiding the Dorados and Oscar Romero in charge of the Badgers, the two teams were able to schedule each other in a “Freedom” game on Wednesday and Canyon del Oro came away with a 4-2 win.
Tyler Porter took the mound for Canyon del Oro (13-3) and Orlando Romero got the call for Tucson (3-3). Porter was able to keep the Badgers off home plate through three innings despite a one-out double from Joseph Dicochea in the top of the second.
Romero was backed up by a double play in the first and again in the second to keep CDO scoreless but the Dorados plated two in the bottom of the third on a single from Alex Bustamante that brought in Brennan Rainey and Alex Ivanoff. Another double play prevented any further damage.
The Badgers broke through in the top of the fourth on a two-RBI double from Michael Corral that scored Alex Kelch and Nic Cota-Robles.
Both teams remained scoreless in the fifth and Porter gave way to Diego Truesdall and Bustamante down the stretch. The Dorados took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a leadoff double from Derrick Calvillo, a single from Simon Lytle and a double from Enrique Romero that scored Elias Stancer and Lytle. Stancer was running for Calvillo.
The Badgers threatened to tie the game up in the seventh but two runners were left stranded and CDO won 4-2.
Canyon del Oro played in the Boras Baseball Classic and the Horizon National Invitational Tournament to start the month off which accounts for the 16 games played compared to only six by Tucson.
Tucson is set to host their own tournament next week, the Chris Moon Memorial Tournament. That important tournament will start on Monday night, March 27 with the unveiling ceremony of the Chris Moon statue.
But first, Tucson will visit Catalina Foothills (7-7) Thursday night in another nonconference game and CDO will travel to Ironwood Ridge (8-5) Friday night in an Amphitheater District rivalry game.
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 and on AZPreps365.com. Andy was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com