Boom wins Sun Belt College League Championship; heads to NBC World Series

Boom (

Boom 8, Cochise Stars 7 (11)
Team Tucson 11, Kings 1

Boom 9, Team Tucson 2

Boom beat Team Tucson 9-2 Friday night at Kino Stadium to win the championship of the Sun Belt College League. The victory gives Boom another berth to the National Baseball Congress (NBC) World Series slated for Wichita, Kansas from July 27 to Aug. 11.

The NBC World Series has been held in legendary Lawrence-Dumont Stadium since 1935 but plans are in the works to demolish the stadium to make room for a bigger one. The stadium also served as the home of the College World Series before moving to Omaha in 1949. This could be the last NBC World Series to place in the stadium.

Boom, known as “Northwest Boom” last year, finished 2-1 in pool play at the World Series and former Cienega standout Nick Gonzales was named to the NBC All-American Team for his efforts.

Known as a great hitting team, Boom led the Sun Belt League in home runs (9) but the team used timely hitting and a dominating performance from the mound to defeat Team Tucson.

Former Canyon del Oro standout Gabe Benavides took the ball for Boom and he limited Team Tucson to two earned runs and six hits in 8 1-3 innings of work. Benavides scattered three hits through the first seven innings but an RBI double from Antonio Fernandez ended the shutout in the eight and an RBI single from Saul Suazo in the ninth brought in Gerardo Lerma in relief.

“I joined the team about two weeks into the season and it’s been a great experience,” Benavides said. “I would definitely recommend this league to others. I feel I got better and had all the opportunities I needed. Tonight, I had my first extended outing and went past the 60-pitch limit for the first time and all three of my pitches were working early, keeping them off balance. Plus, the great defense behind me. It was a good night.”

Now a senior at Western Oregon, Benavides will be attending a pitching clinic in Seattle and will not be available for the NBC World Series.

As a team, Boom put together 14 hits and scored early to take control of the game with three runs in the bottom of the first, two in the second and another in the third. Two more runs in the bottom of the seventh ended the scoring.

From the top, Rafael Padilla went 4-for-4 with an RBI for Boom, University of Arizona recruit Marcel Bachelier went 2-3 with 3 RBI, Tyler Porter went 1-2 with an RBI and three walks, Dante DeNiro went 3-5 with a double and two RBI and Kevin Jimenez, Winston Welch, Mikael Bracamonte and Paolo Rodriguez picked up hits.

Ryon Craig got the start for Team Tucson and Juan Pablo Ruedaflores, Kamden Kautz and Stevie Ruelas all saw action on the mound. Izaiah Madrid had a double to go along with the RBI double from Fernandez. Suazo, Ismael Carrillo, Tyler Wiltshire and Anthony Colombino collected singles for Team Tucson.

Team Tucson (

Ruben Lerma, Coach
Luis R Valenzuela, Coach
Manny Bustamante, Assistant Coach
Gerardo Lerma, Assistant Coach
Marcel Bachelier
Brayden Benavides
Gabe Benavides
Mikael Bracamonte
Sean Bracamonte
Alex Bustamante
Jose Cabanillas
Dante DeNiro
David Diaz
Justin Felix
Cristobal Flores Murrieta
Najee Gaskins
Kevin Jimenez
Gerardo Lerma
Mark Lopez
Rafael Padilla
Tyler Porter
Manuel Ramirez
Paulo Rodriguez
Sherrick Sanborn
Michael Santorelli
AJ Van Bogaert
Winston Welch

Carlo Colombino, Coach
Gilbert De La Vara, Coach
Devin Veal, Coach
Antonio Fernandez, Assistant Coach
Ryan Biad
Ismael Carrillo
Anthony Colombino
Dillon Cook
Jarrod Corona
Ryon Craig
Joseph Dicochea
Antonio Fernandez
Alex Goodman
Matthew Hackman
Kamden Kautz
Carlos Mada
Izaiah Madrid
Jose Martinez
Andy Morales
Josh Reyes
Brian Romero
Gabriel Rosthenhausler
Juan Pablo Ruedaflores
Stevie Ruelas
Saul Suazo
JC Velasco
Tyler Wiltshire


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 is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Contact Andy Morales at


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