Sunnyside heads into the 10-and-under Arizona State Little League Softball tournament at Cottonwood next week with resounding victories in the District 12 tournament, including 38-1 in three innings Monday night over San Xavier in the title game.
The performance serves notice that Sunnyside is prepared for the challenge ahead in the state tournament starting next Tuesday.
Sunnyside led San Xavier 20-0 by the end of the first inning with home runs hit by first baseman Camryn Moraga, Camila Vargas and Jenna Armenta. Moraga, the daughter of former Sunnyside High School and Arizona baseball player Omar Moraga and Pima Community College player Selina Encinas, had a grand slam and six RBIs in three plate appearances in the first inning.
“I’m very confident in the girls,” said Sunnyside coach Bryanna Rodriguez. “As long as we stay up, they stay positive, we could go all the way. I love the girls’ attitude to what they have with each other and that’s what’s gotten us this far.”
Sunnyside 10U 1B Camryn Moraga from strong baseball & softball family with parents Omar Moraga (@ArizonaBaseball) & Selina Encinas (@PimaAthletics softball) & brothers Adam (@SHSDevilSports baseball & Pima) & Brandon (Sunnyside). 7 RBIs & single from cycle. Also student of mine. pic.twitter.com/bR8B95xuks
Sunnyside had strong performances from most of its lineup and backups, who were inserted in the second inning.
Leadoff hitter Aviana Lopez went 5 for 5 with a double and two RBIs. She is a cousin of Camryn and No. 2 hitter Carissa Palomarez, who was 3 for 3 with an RBI in the first inning. Aviana’s parents Andres and Felicia are also coaches on the team, adding to the already strong family atmosphere on the team.
Sunnyside 10U second baseman Aviana Lopez went 5 for 5 with a double and two RBIs as the leadoff hitter tonight. Likely first of many postgame interviews ahead for her. pic.twitter.com/YCgiXXLV0i— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) July 2, 2019
Sunnyside starting pitcher Anyssa Pacho had four strikeouts with two walks and allowed only one hit in her two innings of work. She also went 4 for 4 at the plate with five RBIs. Vargas finished 5 for 5 with five RBIs.
Rodriguez has coached a core of the team, about eight players, since March. The entire team, she has been part of their development for the last two to three years within the Sunnyside Little League program.
Photos in this slideshow taken by Mackenzie Morales/AllSportsTucson.com
“I like just the way they’re all together. We always come together no matter what,” Rodriguez said. “The kids know each other. The families know each other and it shows a lot during the games. I love our families.”
Sunnyside will be raising funds for its trip to Cottonwood at Thursday’s Sun Belt College League All-Star Game at Kino Stadium. They will operate one of the concessions stands and will attempt to have a 50-50 raffle during the game that starts at 6:30 p.m. with a Fourth of July fireworks show afterward.
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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.