Kino Baseball League director Bill Leith took the time today to tell Michael Acevedo’s story to a group of Canyon del Oro baseball players on the cusp of the infield at a Kino Sports Complex field.
Chances are none or very few of them knew of Acevedo, a Sunnyside baseball standout who went on to be a respected coach at various high schools, including head coach at Santa Rita.
Acevedo, only 51, passed away on Dec. 1, 2015, from complications with his health three weeks after suffering a heart attack.
The Dorados, who comprise a fall team called “Canyon,” now know all about Acevedo, the namesake of a memorial baseball tournament hosted by the Kino Baseball League this weekend.
As champions of the tournament, they took home the winning trophy — a gold cup — that included Acevedo’s name on it.
Canyon beat the Warriors — a team comprised of Buena High School players — by a score of 9-4 in the championship. It went 5-1 in the tournament, including three wins today over the Bat Cats (Sabino), Spartans (Casa Grande Vista Grande) and Warriors.
“It’s nice to play as a team before the season starts (in the spring),” said senior catcher Andrew Stucky, who had a two-run double as part of Canyon’s six-run rally in the top of the seventh that broke open the game from a 3-3 tie.
“It’s nice to get us all back together. It’s cool to play against some of the other teams you don’t get to play (in the regular season).”
Canyon (comprised of CDO players) facing Warriors (Buena) in the title game of the Fourth Annual Michael Acevedo Memorial Tournament at the Kino Sports Complex. Report later at @AllSportsTucson. #ASThssports pic.twitter.com/zWidviSmZ4
Stucky and Canyon will compete in another Kino Baseball League event in two weeks in the American Heroes Veterans Tournament at the Kino Sports Complex.
Leith gathered the largest field ever for the Acevedo Tournament — 16 teams — and anticipates a similar participation for the Veterans Tournament. Some of the the Kino Baseball League tournament alums include Alex Verdugo, Cody Bellinger, Nick Gonzales and Andre Jackson.
Canyon’s standouts of today, including Stucky, had productive games against the Warriors.
.@BaseballPima bound catcher @AndrewAstucky talks about his performance in the title game today of the Michael Acevedo Tournament, including a 2-run double and throwing out a runner trying to score after a potential wild pitch. pic.twitter.com/7AXkRozMqZ
Junior third baseman Blake Lehmbeck, who had two doubles and an RBI, was selected by the team’s coaches as the MVP of the tournament.
New Mexico commit Dominic Felix, a Class of 2022 infielder, went 3 for 3 with four RBIs, including a two-run single as part of the decisive seventh-inning rally.
“We’re a really tight group; we want to play good for each other,” Felix said. “That’s just a big motivation for me and a lot of other players. We just want to do good for each other. I just put it all out there and it worked out.”
.@UNMLoboBaseball Class of 2022 commit @Domfelix133 went 3 for 3 with two doubles and 4 RBIs in a win for Canyon (@BaseballCDO) today in the title game of the Michael Acevedo Memorial Tournament. pic.twitter.com/A2jwHl0Cm6
Other underclassmen who provided timely productive performances include relief pitcher Chris Humphreys (a 14-year-old freshman) and junior slugger Jared Aykroyd (who looks like a linebacker).
Humphreys got through the final inning allowing only one run and he posted a strikeout. Aykroyd ripped a fastball deep to center field for an RBI double as part of Canyon’s six-run seventh.
The Warriors included catcher Austin Grimm, who less than 48 hours previously played against Salpointe as Buena’s starting quarterback. Grimm had an RBI triple and run-scoring single.
Cole Godfrey went 3 for 3 with three RBIs for the Warriors.
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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.