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Sunnyside Little League Continues Appreciation Tour With Pregame Honor by Arizona Diamondbacks


PHOENIX — They were guests at restaurants, including AllSportsTucson.com’s gathering at Frog & Firkin.

They were present on Aug. 19 at a meeting of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, who declared that day after them.

On Sept. 4, the Tucson City Council, at its meeting, recognized their accomplishments.

Sunnyside Little League awaits their honor before the Arizona Diamondbacks game Sunday (Karla Moraga/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

They also gathered in front of members of their southside community with an event at Mission Manor Park, where their aspirations all started on the practice fields there.

Today, they stood along the third-base line at Chase Field as guests of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who honored the team before the game against the Cincinnati Reds.

One more meaningful group shot of the Sunnyside Little League team (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)
Sunnyside’s father-son combinations: Manager Frank Rivero and son Francisco Jr., coach Ernie Moraga and son Izaiah and coach Cristobal Lorta and son Cristobal Jr. (also known as Damian) (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

This is the Appreciation Tour of the Sunnyside Little League Majors team that played in the West Regional championship game.

They were so close to reaching the Little League World Series at Williamsport, Pa., after having to win an elimination game three consecutive games — including the dramatic win over Northern California in the semifinals behind a game-tying home run by Izaiah Moraga in the last inning followed by a walk-off double by Michel Muñiz Jr.

Imagine if the team reached Williamsport and won the world title … a parade in downtown Tucson?

Most of Sunnyside’s Little League divisions deserve recognition with the Juniors and Seniors reaching their respective West Regional similar to the Majors team.

This summer was a glorious time for the southside of Tucson and the city in general, appreciating the accomplishments of these teams and the state champion 11U Oro Valley Little League team (that did not have a regional in which to compete).

The young Sunnyside Little League Majors team (comprised of players 11 and 12 years old) symbolizes what our youth can achieve through hard work, a competitive spirit and a family atmosphere.

The family approach can’t be overlooked. Sunnyside occupied 90 seats at today’s Diamondbacks game. The attendees included parents, sisters and brothers, nanas, uncles and aunts and cousins. Keep in mind this is an all-star team with players coming from different teams and neighborhoods on the Southside.

They have shown that a strong community effort overcomes differences. These kids are in middle school. Adults can learn a lot from them.


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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.

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