No. 3 Benson will try to beat top-seeded Scottsdale Christian for the second straight year in the 2A championship game when the teams meet Saturday at Tempe Diablo Stadium at 7 p.m.
Benson (20-9) and Scottsdale Christian (21-4) each won their semifinal games Friday to set up the rematch.
The Bobcats — who defeated the Eagles 6-3 in last year’s championship — got past No. 2 Miami 11-3 and Scottsdale Christian topped No. 4 Tombstone 10-1 in the other semifinal.
In Benson’s win over Miami, leadoff batter Antonio Rigney went 3 for 3 with two runs to lead the Bobcats’ 14-hit attack.
Wyatt Wilharm and Davin Judd each went 2 for 4 with Wilharm contributing a double, three runs and two RBIs.
Benson starter Brok Determan was the winning pitcher, scattering nine hits in 5 1/3 innings with two strikeouts and no walks.
The Bobcats had a 10-0 lead by the third inning behind a six-run second inning highlighted by Angel Rigney’s RBI double, Dalton Crockett’s RBI single, Cameron McFarland’s RBI single and Determan’s two-run single.
The Bobcats won the championship last year for the first time since 1987 under alumnus Fred Trujillo. Their first title in state competition was in 1963.
Trujillo, a 1974 grad who was one of the top pitchers in the state as senior left-hander, has come full circle in his coaching career. He has served as a pitching coach at Cienega (when the Bobcats had Nick Gonzales as an infielder), head coach at Pueblo and assistant with Cholla before returning home to Benson, where he lives.
He developed the underdog mentality starting from his playing days at Benson when he became an all-state selection after going unbeaten and throwing a no-hitter in 1974.
“We don’t get very much respect; we’re a small school,” Trujillo said in a recent interview with AllSportsTucson.com. “You just start building a solid program. You do a lot of work and the kids get better. When you start winning a lot, other coaches and scouts notice. Then they say, ‘Maybe there are some kids in Benson who can play.’
“It’s just a lot of hard work with assistants and the kids. For a small school, we play year round. Other than a couple of weeks in the winter, we’re doing something baseball-wise year round.”
Scottsdale Christian is in its eighth season under coach Tim Salmon, a Los Angeles Angels great who played in the majors from 1992 to 2006.
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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.