The spring season is up and running across Southern Arizona and two dozen invitationals, from baseball to beach volleyball, will help guide us along the way. For baseball, the Amphi Panther Invitational starts on Wednesday and the TUSD Boys Volleyball Invitational starts Friday at Sabino.
Tucson hosted Canyon del Oro Tuesday night under the lights at Cherry Field to mark the beginning of a new era for both baseball programs. Mark Marris is now the head coach of the Badgers and Jason Hisey is the head coach of the Dorados.
The power-ranking game was supposed to come after both programs had a few contests under their belts but the rain and snow cut the preseason plans short for both teams. Both programs were only able to get one game in at the Brophy Prep “Adam Donnenfield” Invitational last week before competition was cancelled. Teams depend on preseason tournaments to figure out lineups, pitching rotations and chemistry but that process has to take place in games that count this spring and the Dorados jumped out with a huge win.
Tucson (0-2) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second after Raul Romero led off the inning with a double, moved to third base on a ground out and then scored on an error but Canyon del Oro (1-1) exploded for six runs in the top of the fourth to take a 6-1 lead. The Dorados added two more in the fifth and five more in the sixth to go up 13-1 and the Badgers added a run in the bottom half of the sixth for the 13-2 finals.
Kiko Romero (2-4) led the Dorados with a triple, Andrew Stucky (2-3) had two doubles and an RBI, Jayden Bracey (2-4) had three RBI, Codey Juergenson (2-4) collected four RBI and Dante Schindler (1-3) and two RBI. Nate Martinez (1-0) picked up the win, giving up three hits and two unearned runs.
For Tucson, Romero (2-3) had a double and an RBI and Diego Bejarano (1-1) hit a double. Mario Bejarano, Dominic Rodriguez and Nicholas Arias all saw pitching action for the Badgers.
Tucson visits Salpointe (1-0) on Thursday night and Canyon del Oro will host Nogales (1-0) on the same night. The game time for Tucson/Salpointe game is set for 6 p.m. because the Lancers have installed lights on their baseball field, softball field and on the field used for track and field events. Nogales has won back-to-back state championships.
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 AZPreps365.com. 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