STATE LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL TOURNAMENT
Sunnyside beat Cactus Foothills South 9-2 Friday night to win the Little League state championship held in Scottsdale. Sunnyside took the first game of the best-of-3 series Thursday night, 5-1. Sunnyside is now 12-0 in postseason play.
Diego Pinedo took the ball for Sunnyside and he collected nine strikeouts in five innings of work. Sunnyside went up 1-0 in the top of the first on an RBI double from Damian Lorta and 2-0 in the second on a home run from Jovanni Toledo.
Sunnyside added three more in the top of the fifth on a 2-run blast from Lorta and another homer from Toledo. Leading 5-1, the hot bats continued in the sixth with a 2-run shot from Emilio Lizarraga, another home run from Lorta and another run came in later in the inning to make it 9-1. Cactus Foothills South added a run in the bottom of the sixth for the 9-2 final.
In all, Sunnyside hit five home runs to put an exclamation point on their state championship. It is the fourth state title for Sunnyside Little League.
The Little League West Regional is set for San Bernardino starting on Aug. 5 and the team from Mission Manor Park will face Hawaii that opening Sunday
Six teams from Arizona have made it all the way to the Little League Word Series since South Mountain broke through in 1965. Of the six, only two teams have made it to the championship game and both were from Tucson: Cactus (1973) and Tucson International (1986).
ARIZONA STATE CHAMPIONS
2011: Rio Rico
2001: San Xavier
1997: Tucson American
1996: Santa Rita
1986: Tucson International (LLWS Runner-up))
1983: Tucson American
1973: Cactus (LLWS Runner-up)
JUNIOR BASEBALL WEST REGION
Nogales is headed to San Jose after winning the state Junior Baseball Tournament in Tempe. The West Region is slated to start on Saturday, July 28 and Nogales will take on Oregon on Sunday morning.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and he 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 is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com