Little League Baseball

Rincon advances in 8-9-10 state tournament after opening-round win

Rincon kept its unbeaten run, that included a District 12 championship, going with an 8-3 win over Gilbert American in the opening-round game Saturday of the 8-9-10 state tournament at Field of Dreams.

The all-star team from Vail is now 5-0 in the district and state tournaments. It will face Mesa Four Peaks at 7:45 p.m. on Monday in a second-round game. Four Peaks received a bye to that round.

Hudson Harper overcame a jammed finger as a result of playing in a recent basketball-league game to win Saturday on the mound for Rincon. The finger, which is on his pitching hand, affected his changeup but not his fastball and accuracy.

He struck out eight batters, walked four and allowed only one earned run in four innings to earn the win over Gilbert American.

Rincon’s Hudson Harper was effective against Gilbert American despite an injured finger (Andy Morales/


“I think he threw his changeup maybe only three times, so he was just hitting his spots and throwing hard,” Rincon manager Eddie Sapp said of Harper’s performance. “He’s been doing bullpens twice a week and he’s gotten better and better and better. He’s a big strong kid.

“He’s very poised even though he’s only 9. He was a little anxious before the game, and he was a little wild at the start, but he just beared down and went through the middle of their lineup pretty tough.”

When Harper was relieved by Nathan Ramirez to start the fifth inning and Rincon leading 6-3 at that point, he tipped his cap toward the Rincon crowd, generating a loud applause.

Bryce Brown celebrates after hitting a double with two outs in the fifth (Andy Morales/

After Gilbert American rallied for two unearned runs in the fourth to cut the lead to 6-3, Rincon scored two insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth.

Bryce Brown, in the No. 9 slot, hit a double with two outs to start the rally. Mikey Ortiz, who went 2 for 4 with a run and two RBIs, followed with a single, moving Brown to third. Ortiz ran to second on the throw from the outfield trying to get Brown out.

Kris Pedrique and Ramirez followed with RBI singles to increase the lead to 8-3.

Five of Rincon’s runs were scored by batters in the Nos. 7-9 spots in the order. Bryant Wall had a double and run, pinch-hitter Calvin Williams singled and scored, Demarco Valenzuela walked and scored, Sapp walked, stole a base and scored and Brown doubled and scored in the final rally.

“To have that kind of production from that part of the lineup was huge,” Eddie Sapp said. “Even when the No. 9 hitters got subbed out, they were still on the fence cheering for their team. I tell the boys, ‘It’s going to be more than one of us. It’s going to be a team.’ Today, it was the whole team that did it.

“All the kids got at-bats and they came in and battled. That’s how you win games especially in tournaments like this.”

Field of Dreams

e-elimination bracket game

Saturday, July 17
G1: Chandler North 4, Litchfield Park 0
G2: Canyon View 12, Casa Grande 3
G3: Paradise Valley North 14, Lake Havasu 2
G4: Phoenix Arcadia 16, Mount Graham 0
G5: West Flagstaff 7, Sierra Vista 6
G6: Rincon 8, Gilbert American 3

Monday, July 19
G7: Chandler North vs. Prescott Valley, 5:15 p.m.
G8: Canyon View vs. Paradise Valley North, 7:45 p.m.
G9: Phoenix Arcadia vs. West Flagstaff, 5:15 p.m.
G10: Rincon vs. Mesa Four Peaks, 7:45 p.m.
e-G11: Mount Graham vs. Sierra Vista, 5:15 p.m.
e-G12: Casa Grande vs. Lake Havasu, 7:45 p.m.

Tuesday, July 20
e-G13: Gilbert American vs. G7 loser, 5:15 p.m.
e-G14: Litchfield Park vs. G10 loser, 5:15 p.m.
e-G15: G11 winner vs. G8 loser, 7:45 p.m.
e-G16: G12 winner vs. G9 loser, 7:45 p.m.

Wednesday, July 21
G17: G7 winner vs. G8 winner, 5:15 p.m.
G18: G9 winner vs. G10 winner, 7:45 p.m.
e-G19: G13 winner vs. G15 winner, 5:15 p.m.
e-G20: G14 winner vs. G16 winner, 7:45 p.m.

Thursday, July 22
e-G21: G18 loser vs. G19 winner, 6:30 p.m.
e-G22: G17 loser vs. G20 winner, 6:30 p.m.

Friday, July 23
G23: G17 winner vs. G18 winner, 6:30 p.m.
e-G24: G21 winner vs. G22 winner, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 24
e-G25: G23 loser vs. G24 winner, 6:30 p.m.

Monday, July 26
G26: Championship — G23 winner vs. G25 winner, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 27
G27: Championship — If G25 winner wins G26, 6:30 p.m.

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