Chris Moon Memorial Classic
March 22-25: Cherry Field & Reid Park Annex
The Chris Moon Memorial Classic is named after the Tucson High 2007 consensus Southern Arizona Player of the Year pitcher and outfielder Chris Moon. Moon was drafted by the Atlanta Braves but chose instead to play for Andy Lopez at Arizona.
Moon was part of the recruiting class that eventually won an NCAA championship four years later but Moon was not part of that team. Moon gave up baseball after the fall season in order to fulfill what he considered is calling, a sniper in the military and he did it with the blessing of Lopez and his family.
“I’m grateful for his sacrifice and for what he did for our country,” Lopez said during the opening ceremonies of the first Chris Moon Classic.
Like everything else Moon did, he was the best. The best BMX racer, the best little leaguer, the best pitcher, the best outfielder and the best sniper. He was always the “last man,” making sure his teammates were always out front and, later, his platoon protected.
Braves scout Danny Bates said he made a note on how Moon treated his teammates when he reported back to Atlanta. “We need him on our side,” Bates told the organization.
Moon recorded several kills in the Arghandab Valley in 2010 and, as we later learned, he was targeted by the Taliban as all snipers were. The reports of Moon “stepping on a roadside bomb” were not true, Moon assassinated by a triggerman hiding out in an orchard nearby.
As the “last man,” Moon followed behind his platoon and the triggerman waited until all soldiers passed before setting the bomb off under Moon. Moon would pass away several days later.
A life-size bronze statue of Moon will soon be erected at the top of the steps at Cherry Field, overlooking the varsity field.
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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here, on AZPreps365.com and on the pages of the Vail Voice and the Tanque Verde Voice. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com