Oro Valley will represent District 5 in the Little League state competition but we are still looking for a champion from District 8 and another from District 12 to join them at the Tempe Sports Complex on July 16.
Oro Valley will face Lake Havasu City in the first round in Tempe, the District 12 champion will face Chino Valley and the District 8 champion will face Anthem High Desert. The three Southern Arizona programs that make it to state are in three different sections of the state bracket which means they will not face each other until the semifinal round if things go as planned. The winner will be crowned on July 24.
DISTRICT 8 (DOUGLAS)
JUNE 30 FIRST ROUND
Nogales over Douglas, 4-3
San Pedro over Willcox, 11-10
JULY 1 QUARTERFINALS
A: Santa Cruz vs. Nogales, 5 p.m.
B: Sen Pedro vs. Sierra Vista, 7:30 p.m.
JULY 2 ELIMINATION
Douglas vs. B loser, 5 p.m.
Willcox vs. A loser, 7:30 p.m.
DISTRICT 12 (FIELD OF DREAMS)
JUNE 30 FIRST ROUND
Sunnyside over Copper Hills, 6-3
Empire over Cactus, 12-0
San Xavier over Southwestern, 16-3
Rincon over Randolph, 12-0
JULY 1 ELIMINATION
5: Copper Hills vs. Cactus, 5:15 p.m.
6: Southwestern vs. Randolph, 7:45 p.m.
JULY 3 QUARTERFINALS
7: Sunnyside vs. Empire, 5:15 p.m.
8: San Xavier vs. Rincon, 7:45 p.m.
The West Region tournament starts on August 8 in San Bernardino and Arizona will face Southern California in the first round. This year, the top two teams will advance to the Little League World Series in Williamsport on August 19.
Tucson International (1986) and Cactus (1973) are the only two teams from Tucson to make it to the World Series. Sunnyside (2019), Sunnyside (1984) and Sahuaro (1963) came one game away.
The 1963 Sahuaro team was led by Jim Crawford. Crawford went on to play for Rincon High School where he was drafted by the Padres. Crawford attended ASU after high school instead and he was then drafted by the Astros. He played for the Astros and the Tigers from 1973 to 1978.
Tucson lost to Granada Hills 2-0 in the region final in 1963 and Granada Hills went on to win the World Series over Connecticut. Interesting fact from that championship game is Stratford’s star player was Mike Kowalski. The Kowalski family moved from Tucson to Connecticut after Mike was selected to be a Tucson All-Star the year before. Kowalski was drafted by the Mets in 1969 after pitching Stratford to a high school state championship and he spent three years in the minors.
Also on that team was former Tucson High, Arizona and NFL standout Jim Arneson along with Ted Phillips, Dave McNeal, Manny Valdez, Tim Walsh, Larry Reynoso, Steve Thalberg, Dave Cutshaw, Steve Tassi, Steve Smith and Terry Mattison. Paul Cutshaw was the coach and Jack Tassi was the manager.
More on the first state champion team from Tucson (Tucson American) in 1959 can be seen at “Tucson Historic Sports Venues and Artifacts” on Facebook later today.
PAST SOUTHERN ARIZONA STATE CHAMPIONS
2019 – Sunnyside (second place)
2018 – Sunnyside (quarterfinals)
2012 – Rincon (semifinals)
2011 – Rio Rico (quarterfinals)
2001 – San Xavier (semifinals)
2000 – Canyon del Oro (semifinals)
1997 – Tucson American (quarterfinals)
1996 – Santa Rita (quarterfinals)
1992 – Tucson Western (quarterfinals)
(Double Elimination Started in 1992)
1991 – Sunnyside (semifinals)
1988 – Nogales (first round)
1987 – Nogales National (first round)
1986 – Tucson International (World Series)
1985 – Nogales (quarterfinals)
1984 – Sunnyside (second place)
1983 – Tucson American (semifinals)
1981 – Tucson Western (semifinals)
1980 – Nogales National (first round)
1979 – Sunnyside (semifinals)
1978 – Nogales National (quarterfinals)
1975 – Douglas (quarterfinals)
1974 – Cactus (semifinals)
1973 – Cactus (World Series)
1971 – Pantano (semifinals)
1963 – Sahuaro (second place)
1959 – Tucson American (semifinals)
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. 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. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019 and he is a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. Contact Andy Morales at firstname.lastname@example.org