LITTLE LEAGUE: Sunnyside beats Blythe on a walk-off hit

Arianna Espinoza hit a walk-off single to give Sunnyside the win. (Andy Morales/


Thursday Results:

Sunnyside beat Blythe 5-4 in dramatic fashion to advance in the Winner’s Bracket of the State Senior Softball Tournament held at Mission Manor Park. Down 3-0, Sunnyside scored one run in the bottom of the fifth and three more in the sixth to take a 4-3 lead but Blythe tied things up in the top of the seventh only to see Sunnyside come away with a walk-off victory.

Danitza Aguirre led off the bottom of the seventh with a double and then Arianna Espinoza came up one out later and singled to bring in Aguirre for the win. It was part of an offensive outburst that was completely absent through five innings of play.

Erika Gonzalez held Sunnyside hitless through four innings with the host team unable to get a ball out of the infield. It looked like Gonzalez would control the fifth inning also after she picked up her fourth strikeout but an error put a runner on and then Dezirae Salazar broke up the no-hitter on an infield hit to put two on. Sunnyside would score on an error to cut the lead down to 3-1.

Espinoza hit a triple to get things going in the sixth and Arianna Lopez followed with an RBI single to make it 3-2. Gonzalez picked up her sixth strikeout of the game and forced a ground ball but a passed ball tied the game and then back-to-back walks and another error put Sunnyside up 4-3.

Gonzalez finished with eight strikeouts and Marina Gomez matched her efforts with eleven strikeouts but Blythe was able to put up a run in the top of the first and two more in the third to take that 3-0 lead despite being limited to one hit.

Alexis Rubalcaba was hit-by-pitch in the first and she scored on a couple of passed balls to give Blythe the early lead. Alyssa Iriart was walked to lead off the third and then Brooke Echard came up with the first hit for Blythe to put two on. An error and a wild pitch scored them both and Blythe led 3-0.

Gomez scattered three hits the rest of the way but Iriart drew another walk in the top of the seventh to give Blythe a chance and she came around to tie the game on an error.

Blythe will face Queen Creek Friday in an Elimination Game while Sunnyside advances to take on Sierra Vista in the late game.

The two games featured six umpires with a combined 210 years of experience. Bob Hall (far right) was behind the plate in the 1996 Little League World Series in Williamsport. (Andy Morales/

Sierra Vista beat Superior 21-11 in the first game despite being down 9-8 after five innings of play. Sierra Vista scored eight in the sixth and five more in the seventh to put the game away.

Six teams remain in 8-10 Baseball action taking place at Palo Verde Park. Rincon and Sunnyside are the only teams alive in the Winner’s Bracket and will face each other Saturday night.

Copper Hills will play Rincon in the 9-11 District 12 championship game scheduled for Freedom Park. It’s a winner-take-all game with the winner earning a first-round bye in the state tournament hosted by Show Low.

Copper Hills and Rincon will face off in the District 12 Little League championship on Saturday night at Purple Heart Park. Rincon (4-1) has to beat Copper Hills (4-0) twice.

There are four teams remaining in the District 12 Junior League tournament taking place at Manzanita Park with Randolph and Sunnyside still in the winner’s bracket.

Western will play Sunnyside at the Winner’s Bracket final of the 50/70 state tournament held in Nogales. The winner will advance to the championship game scheduled for Monday.


8-10 Baseball: Palo Verde

Thursday, July 6
Rincon 20, Copper Hills 16
Palo Verde 18, American 3
San Xavier 17, Southwestern 2
Sunnyside 17, Randolph 1

Friday, July 7
Copper Hills vs. Palo Verde, 5:15 p.m.
Randolph vs. San Xavier, 7:45 p.m.

Saturday, Jul 8
Elimination Game, 5:15 p.m.
Rincon vs. Sunnyside, 7:45 p.m.

9-11 Baseball: Freedom Park

Friday, July 7: Championship Game
Copper Hills vs. Rincon, 6:30 p.m.

LL Baseball: Purple Heart

Thursday, July 6
Rincon 14, Santa Rita 4

Saturday, July 8: Championship Game
Copper Hills vs. Rincon, 6:30 p.m.

Junior Baseball: Manzanita Park

Thursday, July 6
American 7, San Xavier 4

Friday, July 7
Los Ninos vs. American, 5:15 p.m.
Randolph vs. Sunnyside, 7:45 p.m.


July 5-12: Mission Manor Park

Thursday, July 6
Sierra Vista 21, Superior 11
Sunnyside 5, Blythe 4

Friday, July 7
Blythe vs. Queen Creek, 5:15 p.m.
Sierra Vista vs. Sunnyside, 7:45 p.m.


July 6-11: Fleischer Park, Nogales

Thursday, July 6
Western 11, Nogales 1
Sunnyside 26, District 6 1

Friday, July 7
Western vs. Sunnyside, 5 p.m.


July 10-15 Arthur Pack


July 10-15 Arthur Pack


July 16-21: Arthur Pack



Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and he 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 and on Andy was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at


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