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CDO’s senior-laden lineup wins in first game played in exactly one year


Lo and behold, high school baseball was played again.

“I’m just so happy for these kids to actually get a chance to play baseball and experience being on a team again,” Canyon del Oro coach Jason Hisey said after his team won 11-3 at Ironwood Ridge. “I mean, it’s been a year, literally to the day.”

A smile can be seen beneath his tight Gator face mask.

“It’s been a year, so I’m just happy for these guys.”

COVID-19 took away their season last year on March 12 when the Dorados finished their fifth game with a win over Mountain View.

On March 12 this year, CDO and its opponent Ironwood Ridge and other baseball and softball teams finally played a game again representing their high school.

CDO’s win at Ironwood Ridge on Friday was stopped in the seventh inning because of darkness, which did not draw a negative response from anyone considering the blustery conditions and the fact they finally had more than two hours on the baseball field.

Jason Hisey is 25-9 in his third season at CDO (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Ending the game in near darkness was appropriate because CDO starting right-hander Dante Schindler was pitching lights-out from the start.

Schindler, who is bound for Pima College, carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning after striking out seven of the first nine batters he faced.

He lasted five full innings with nine strikeouts and only one walk while allowing three hits and three runs. None of the runs were earned because of defensive breakdowns.

CDO finished with four errors, including three in the fourth when Ironwood Ridge scored its first run on an RBI single by Tae Kim.

“I thought that he was good; I thought if we played better defense, he probably would have an easier time,” said Hisey, who pitched at Arizona for Jerry Kindall from 1987 to 1991. “Dante’s always in the strike zone. And he’s always competitive.”

Through 75 innings of his three-year varsity career, Schindler has an ERA of only 1.21 with a record of 9-3. He has 106 strikeouts with only 11 walks.

Six of his strikeouts were looking including the first three batters of the game.

“Going through the first part of the order we like to mix in fastballs with curveballs,” Schindler said. “When a team really isn’t hitting your fastball, throwing that extra pitch, the curveball, makes it so much better to face the lineup.

“I had two pitches guys can’t hit. That was big. Our offense? That was like the tip of the iceberg. We can do so much better than that.”

That’s saying something because CDO’s lineup tallied 13 hits with four players — all of them seniors — producing multiple hits.

Leadoff hitter Andrew Stuckey went 3 for 4 with a double, three runs and two RBIs.

No. 3 batter Jayden Bracy, hitting behind Schindler, was 3 for 4 with five RBIs.

Cleanup hitter Michael Kochanski was 2 for 4 with an RBI.

And the No. 9 hitter, Isaiah Pintor, was 2 for 3 with three runs (phenomenal for the last hitter) with an RBI.

“Those guys were starters as sophomores,” said Hisey, who began coaching them when he started at CDO three years ago after stints with Pima College, Catalina Foothills and Ironwood Ridge.

“It’s good to see them up at the top of the order getting those extra at-bats, and we’ve got some guys at the bottom of the order who are swinging pretty well, too. It’s fun to coach kids who are consistently looking to get better.”

CDO’s roster includes seven seniors who have a record of 25-9 under Hisey.

They have also played together during summer and fall leagues, so it is certainly a close-knit group.

“We have a ton of camaraderie and we’re like brothers almost,” Bracy said. “It’s easy to play with each other and we all trust each other. It makes you feel confident when you go out there.”

Ironwood Ridge was led by Kim’s 2-for-3 performance. He drove in all three of the Nighthawks’ runs.

CDO next hosts Cienega on Thursday while Ironwood Ridge takes on Cholla at home on Wednesday.


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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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