Sunnyside fell behind by seven runs in the first two innings Friday night before battling back against Cave Creek Cactus Foothills, but lost 10-6 in the winner’s bracket final of the Arizona Little League Majors state tournament at Queen Creek.
Sunnyside (the District 12 champion which is 3-1 in the tournament) will play in the elimination-bracket final Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Queen Creek’s Desert Mountain Park against an opponent to be determined.
Cactus Foothills (4-0) has advanced to the championship round Wednesday. The winner of the elimination bracket must beat Cactus Foothills twice for the title.
Marana (District 5 champion) was eliminated 3-2 by Flagstaff Continental on Friday night, and San Pedro Valley (District 8 champion) stayed alive in the elimination bracket with an 8-2 win over Blythe (Calif.). San Pedro Valley (3-1) plays host Queen Creek Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in an elimination-bracket game.
Carissa Palomarez, Anyssa Pacho and Camryn Moraga accounted for Sunnyside’s nine hits against Cactus Foothills with each of them tallying three. Pacho, cousin of Arizona softball player Izzy Pacho, finished with three RBIs.
Cactus Foothills led 7-0 after the first two innings, which meant it had outscored its four opponents in the tournament by a combined score of 43-0 at that point.
Sunnyside ended Cactus Foothills’ shut-out stretch with three runs in the third and fourth innings to cut the lead to 7-6.
Pacho hit a two-run single and Camila Vargas scored on a wild pitch in the third inning.
Palomarez and Pacho singled in runs and Vargas forced in another with a ground out in the fourth. Sunnyside left the bases loaded that inning as Cactus Foothills’ Lilly Hamel was able to get the last two batters to strike out and fly out.
Cactus Foothills pulled away to a 10-6 lead with three runs in the bottom of the fifth.
ARIZONA LITTLE LEAGUE STATE MAJORS TOURNAMENT
Queen Creek — Desert Mountain Park
e-elimination bracket game
Friday, July 9
e-G17: San Pedro Valley 8, Blythe (Calif.) 2
e-G18: Flagstaff Continental 3, Marana 2
G21: Cave Creek Cactus Foothills 10, Sunnyside 6
Saturday, July 10
e-G19: San Pedro Valley vs. Queen Creek, 6:30 p.m.
e-G20: Flagstaff Continental vs. Phoenix Arcadia, 6:30 p.m.
Monday, July 12
e-G22: G19 winner vs. G20 winner, 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 13
e-G23: G22 winner vs. Sunnyside, 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 14
G24: Championship — Cave Creek Cactus Foothills vs. G23 winner, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 15
G25: Championship — if G23 winner wins G24, 6:30 p.m.
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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. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District