Salpointe had a week off since beating Vista Grande in the 4A state playoffs and the refreshed Lancers — six of them suffering from the flu a week ago — came out strong to win 8-4 at Amphi on Wednesday night.
The No. 2 Lancers (24-6) beat Vista Grande for the fourth time this season (without a loss) and will play No. 1 Mesquite (27-4) in the 4A state championship game Monday night at 7 at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.
Mesquite has won 18 consecutive games while Salpointe has won 14 of its last 15 games.
Nano Vasquez had an RBI triple in the first inning Wednesday against Vista Grande as part of Salpointe’s 11 hits. Cade McGee then knocked in Vasquez with a single.
The lead grew to 4-0 in the second inning after Levi Padilla’s RBI double and Romeo Ballesteros‘ successful bunt allowed Mikey Villa to score. Ballesteros finsished 2 for 3 with two RBIs.
Vasquez, Padilla and Ricky Santiago each had two hits and an RBI.
Salpointe starter Jaeden Swanberg and reliever Ray Aguilar combined to limit Vista Grande to six hits in seven innings. Swanberg got the win going five innings, striking out four and walking three. Aguilar pitched two innings of scoreless relief, allowing two hits.
5A State Semifinal
Top seed Nogales (25-4) continues its quest for a 5A state championship Thursday night with a 6:30 p.m. game at Tempe’s Diablo Stadium against Scottsdale Desert Mountain (26-6).
The teams met last Thursday at Diablo with Nogales winning 5-2 to increase its winning streak to seven games.
If Nogales beats Desert Mountain, the Apaches advance to the state title game Tuesday at Diablo Stadium at 4 p.m. If Desert Mountain beats Nogales, the teams play again Friday night at Mesa’s HoHoKam Stadium at 6:30 for the right to advance to the championship.
Nogales does not mind the travel to the Phoenix area. The Apaches are 14-0 in true road games this season and 4-2 in neutral games played away from Nogales.
Ricky Maytorena leads the Apaches with a .477 batting average with a team-best 42 hits that includes seven doubles. Jorge Bojorquez is batting .427 with a team-high 34 runs.
Jesus Lopez (.356) and Alec Acevedo (.378) each have three home runs to lead the Apaches.
Maytorena, Bojorquez, Lopez and Acevedo are all seniors.
Acevedo is the top pitcher with a 7-0 record and 1.34 ERA. He has 42 strikeouts and only seven walks in 41 2/3 innings.
Today, May 9
BASEBALL: 5A SEMIFINAL
5A: No. 1 Nogales vs. No. 4 Desert Mountain, 6:30 p.m. at Tempe Diablo Stadium
Tomorrow, May 10
BASEBALL: 2A SEMIFINALS (Goodyear)
No. 3 Bisbee vs. No. 10 Morenci, 6:30 p.m.
BASEBALL: 1A SEMIFINALS (Goodyear)
No. 6 Baboquivari vs. No. 2 Mogollon, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 11
BASEBALL: 3A SEMIFINALS (Surprise)
No. 4 Sahuarita vs. No. 9 NW Christian, 6:30 p.m.
No. 6 Sabino vs. No. 2 ALA-QC, 6:30 p.m.
Monday, May 13
BASEBALL: 4A CHAMPIONSHIP (Mesa HoHoKam)
No. 2 Salpointe vs. No. 1 Mesquite, 7 p.m.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.