Little League Baseball

San Xavier battles through elimination bracket to earn District 12 Juniors title

San Xavier scored 90 runs in its five games of the District 12 Juniors tournament (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Not since 2001 when San Xavier’s Majors team came two games away from reaching the Little League World Series at Williamsport, Pa., has the organization won a District 12 baseball title.

That drought ended Friday night with San Xavier’s lineup continuing to produce runs at a high rate and its effective pitching behind starter Jacob Badilla enabling it to beat Sunnyside 17-4 for the Juniors title at Jesse Owens Park.

Making it a sweeter accomplishment, San Xavier battled through four elimination games, including the last two days against Sunnyside, to win the championship.

“It’s huge,” San Xavier manager Tony Diaz said of the organization — in its 40th season — finally winning a district baseball title after 20 years. “These boys have worked their butts off. A lot of these kids have been around. I’ve seen them since Tee-ball, so these kids have grown up together. They deserve it.”

The 2001 Majors team included future Tucson High and Arizona player Chris Moon, who sacrificed his life for this country in the war against terrorism at Afghanistan.

San Xavier in 2001 reached the semifinals of the West Regionals at San Bernardino, Calif., before losing to Nevada (Henderson Green Valley).

“I’m really happy because we haven’t won one (district title) in 20 years and I’m a part of this team, I contributed with my bat and with my defense and I’m super happy that we won,” said catcher Damien Murrieta, lauded by his coaches for how he handled Thursday’s starter Jorge Acuña and then Badilla in the championship round.

Acuña allowed only two hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in the 15-0 four-inning win over Sunnyside on Thursday.

Badilla settled down after allowing three runs in the second inning to Sunnyside in Friday’s game. He allowed only one run and one hit over the next 2 1/3 innings with two strikeouts and four walks. He consistently worked his way out of potential rallies for Sunnyside by relying on the defense behind him.

He also helped his cause going 3 for 4 with four runs, a triple and two RBIs.

“My arm wasn’t hurting and I was feeling good today, so I had the mindset of coming in for the win,” Badilla said. “I was relaxed all day (with the game not starting until 6:30 p.m.). I was laying down, taking it easy.

“It feels good to be on this team because everyone is good. Everyone can play ball. I think we can do good when we go to state. I think we can win.”

Western, which went uncontested in District 5, will also be in the Juniors state tournament. The District 8 representative will be either Nogales or Sierra Vista. They start a best-of-three championship series July 13 at Nogales to determine who will advance to the state tournament.

San Xavier celebrates its District 12 Juniors title including coach Tony Diaz embracing his son Antonio (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

After losing the opening round game 11-8 to Sunnyside in the district tournament last weekend, San Xavier outscored opponents 82-22 in its four straight victories to the title.

The top performers in the lineup Friday against Sunnyside in addition to Badilla included Carlos Alvarez (2 for 5 with two runs), Murrieta (1 for 4 with a run and two-run double), Acuña (2 for 3 with two runs and an RBI single), Anabil Trejo (1 for 4 with a run and RBI single), Josiah Santana (2 for 4 with two runs and an RBI single), Andrew Delgado (1 for 4 with two runs) and Francisco Navarro (2 for 2 with two RBIs).

Sunnyside was led by D’Angelo Mada-Montes (1 for 2) and Omar Flores (1 for 2 with an RBI double).

In a sign of sportsmanship, Sunnyside as a team approached home plate when San Xavier’s players were given their championship medals (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

DISTRICT 5 and 12 Schedule and Overview

Note: * denotes elimination bracket game

Little League Softball

District 12

9-10-11

Sunnyside is the district champion heading to the state tournament at Payson on July 15.

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Sunnyside 9-10-11 District 12 champions (Sunnyside LL photo)

Majors

Sunnyside is the district champion heading to the state tournament at Queen Creek on July 6.

Sunnyside Majors District 12 champions (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Seniors

Sunnyside is the district champion heading to the state tournament at Arthur Pack on July 6.

Sunnyside Seniors District 12 champions (Sunnyside LL photo)

District 5

8-9-10

Continental Ranch is the district champion advancing to the state tournament at Cottonwood beginning July 9.

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Continental Ranch 8-9-10 District 5 champions (Continental Ranch photo)

Majors

Marana is the district champion heading to the state tournament at Queen Creek on July 6.

Marana Majors District 5 champions (Marana photo)

Juniors

Thornydale is the district champion heading to the state tournament that will be held at Arthur Pack starting July 5.

Thornydale Juniors District 5 champions (Marana photo)

Little League Baseball

District 12

Intermediate 50/70

Copper Hills is the district champion heading to the state tournament at Nogales on July 16.

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Copper Hills District 12 Intermediate 50/70 champions (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

8-9-10

Friday, July 2

Championship — Rincon 13, Cactus 1

Rincon is the district champion heading to the state tournament at Field of Dreams on July 17.

Rincon District 12 8-9-10 champions (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

9-10-11 (Field of Dreams)

Saturday, July 3

*Game Nine: Copper Hills vs. Sunnyside, 6:30 p.m.

Monday, July 5

Game Ten: Championship (Rincon vs. Winner Game Nine), 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 6

Game Eleven: Championship (if necessary, if Winner Game Nine wins Game Ten), 6:30 p.m. 

Majors (Field of Dreams)

Saturday, July 3

Game Seven: Sunnyside vs. Empire, 5:15 p.m.

Game Eight: San Xavier vs. Rincon, 7:45 p.m.

Monday, July 5

*Game Nine: Copper Hills vs. Loser Game Eight, 5:15 p.m.

*Game Ten: Randolph vs. Loser Game Seven, 7:45 p.m.

Tuesday, July 6

Game Eleven: Winner Game Seven vs. Winner Game Eight, 5:15 p.m.

*Game Twelve: Winner Game Nine vs. Winner Game Ten, 7:45 p.m.

Wednesday, July 7

*Game Thirteen: Winner Game Twelve vs. Loser Game Eleven, 6:30 p.m.

Friday, July 9

Game Fourteen: Championship (Winner Game Eleven vs. Winner Game Thirteen), 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 10

Game Fifteen: Championship (if necessary, if Winner Game Thirteen wins Game Fourteen), 6:30 p.m.

Juniors (Jesse Owens)

Friday, July 2

Championship — San Xavier 17, Sunnyside 4

San Xavier is the district champion heading to the state tournament at Nogales starting July 23.

San Xavier District 12 Juniors champions (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

District 5

8-9-10

Canyon View is the district champion heading to the state tournament at Field of Dreams starting July 17.

Canyon View District 5 8-10 champions (Canyon View photo)

9-10-11

Canyon View is the district champion heading to the state tournament at Litchfield Park starting July 16.

Canyon View District 5 9-11 champions (Canyon View photo)

ALLSPORTSTUCSON.COM LATEST POSTS

Majors

Oro Valley is the district champion heading to the state tournament at Tempe starting July 16.

Oro Valley District 5 Majors champions (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Intermediate 50/70

Continental Ranch is the district champion heading to the state tournament at Nogales starting July 16.

Continental Ranch District 5 Intermediate 50/70 champions (Continental Ranch photo)

Juniors

Western is the district champion heading to the state tournament at Nogales starting July 23.

Western District 5 Juniors champions (Western photo)

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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