American Heroes Veterans Tournament
Nov. 9-11: Kino Sports Complex
Tucson High went 4-0 in pool play, including a 6-0 win over Nogales, and Sabino went 4-0 in pool play and then scored a dramatic walk-off semifinal win over Cienega to get to the championship game against Tucson.
Down 5-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Sabercats scored 5 runs with two outs for the win. Brayden Graham came up with a 2-run double. The Badgers beat Tanque Verde in the other semifinal round to set up the game with Sabino.
The Sabercats scored two runs in the top of the first, another in the second and two more in the third to take a commanding 5-0 lead over the Badgers. Joey Parker held the Badgers at bay by scattering two hits over four innings but Parker gave way and Tucson started to battle back in the bottom of the fifth.
A run in the fifth, was followed by three in the sixth to cut the Sabercat lead down to 5-4 and then Francisco Olea delivered on a single with two outs to drive in Ruben Villaescusa to send the championship game to extra innings.
The Sabercats left the bases loaded in the top of the eighth and Gerardo Mungaray led off the bottom half of the inning with an infield single to get the Badgers moving. Kito Castro singled Mungaray over to second one out later and then Mungaray scored on an infield error for the win.
Morgan Altherr went 3-4 with a 2-RBI double and Parker hit a triple to lead the Sabercats at the plate. Tyler Welsh and Tanner Baker added RBIs. Parker picked up 3 strikeouts in 4 innings, Jacob Wiltshire added four strikeouts in two innings of work and LJ Gusky got two more to finish the game.
For the Badgers, Castro went 2-4 with an RBI, Ruben Alvarez had a double, Olea went 2-3 with a triple and 2 RBI, and Nick Arias had a 2-RBI single. From the mound, Contreras started the game and he left with 5 strikeouts, Andres Flores threw four innings with 6 strikeouts and Diego Ramos added two innings. Benji Cazares was the pitcher of record for the win.
For his efforts against Nogales in pool play, Arias was named MVP of the tournament.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner 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. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019. Contact Andy Morales at firstname.lastname@example.org