The date is October 13, in the middle of the football season, far removed from what we normally consider the baseball season.
But this is Tucson. This is Arizona. The high temperature today was 90 degrees in Tucson. Why not baseball in the fall at not only the professional or collegiate level, but at the high school level as well?
Sabino High School, the defending 3A state champions and a developing dynasty, is playing nearly a 30-game schedule this fall. The Sabercats played five in two days this weekend at the Kino Sports Complex. They went 5-0 to capture the Michael Acevedo Tournament championship, capped by a 10-0 win in five innings over Casa Grande in the title game late this afternoon.
The Michael Acevedo Tournament is played annually to honor the late coach, who graduated from Sunnyside, played collegiately and was a head coach at Bayard, N.M., Cholla and Santa Rita. His brother Richard and father Dan were on hand to give up out the championship trophy and medals to all the players.
“The fall is real important for these kids because there’s a lot of showcases involved, too. They can get in front of a lot of college coaches,” Sabino coach Shane Folsom said. “We really try to get them in some things to be seen. We really do kind of take it serious in the fall.”
The Sabercats will play in a six-game event at Central Arizona College at Casa Grande next weekend and then will return to Tucson for another tournament Veteran’s Day weekend at the Kino Sports Complex. They will also play in a showcase tournament that will be attended by college recruiters.
Sabino improved to 15-2 in the fall with today’s win, which was highlighted by junior right-hander Joey Parker’s no-hitter in the five-inning game. Parker is 6-foot-3, 200 pounds and can throw with high velocity and accuracy. He struck out seven batters and walked one.
.@sabinobatcats junior RHP Joey Parker the MVP of the Michael Acevedo Tournament after throwing a five-inning no-hitter in the Sabercats’ 10-0 run-rule win over Casa Grande. Struck out 7, walked one. Bonafide DI prospect. pic.twitter.com/Bz3aNM5tji
Although he played some at the junior varsity level last year because of Sabino’s depth with its pitching staff, Parker is getting attention from Division I programs such as Washington State, Mississippi State, Ohio State and Hawaii among others.
“I just try to get better and stronger every day in the weight room, the classroom, too,” said Parker, who has allowed only five hits with a 0.42 ERA in 16 2/3 innings this fall with 23 strikeouts and 10 walks.
Drew Calloway, a senior first baseman, went 2 for 3 with two runs and two RBIs today. Cleanup hitter Morgan Altherr finished 2 for 3 with three RBIs.
.@sabinobatcats senior 1B Drew Calloway (2 for 3 with 2 RBIs and 2 runs in the 10-0 win over Casa Grande in the Michael Acevedo Tournament championship) talks about holding up well playing 5 games in 2 days and Sabino being a powerhouse in baseball. pic.twitter.com/DLX8L4kyOC
.@sabinobatcats senior RF Morgan Altherr went 2 for 3 with three RBI in the Sabercats- 10-0 win over Casa Grande for the Michael Acevedo Tournament championship. His younger brother Matthew is a sophomore catcher on the team. pic.twitter.com/XKiLERrDAf
Leadoff batter Dylan Bradford, a center fielder who is a Washington State recruit, had a run-scoring single and also scored a run. Junior shortstop Jake Wiltshire, whose older brother Tyler is a Sabino grad playing at Minot (N.D.) State, went 1 for 2 with an RBI and two runs.
Altherr, a right fielder who has committed to play at Colorado-Colorado Springs, said the fall games are important “because if you can’t work together as a team in these tournaments than when the regular season rolls around we’re not going to be able to grind every day through the week and win games we need to for the conference.
“Being able to power through these games is important.”
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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.