Tucson High excelling in Chip Hale Baseball Camps’ MLK event

Arizona’s baseball program is staging what are called “Chip Hale Baseball Camps” twice this month with an effort to bring more exposure to the Wildcats’ progam among young players at the junior varsity and varsity levels.

The Arizona Baseball MLK Team Camp is being staged this weekend (Friday through Sunday) at Hi Corbett Field and the nearby Reid Park Annex Fields.

The Prospect Camp will take place next Saturday at Hi Corbett Field.

Tucson is 2-0 in the Arizona Baseball MLK Team Camp (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

The MLK Team Camp taking place now provides an opportunity for the high school players to interact and learn from Arizona’s baseball staff. Coaches are putting on clinics, open to all players and coaches attending, on infield and outfield play, catching, pitching, and hitting.

Local schools participating include Tucson High, Sahuarita, Canyon del Oro, Nogales and a team comprised of players from Vail. Teams from Riverside (Calif.), Vallejo (Calif.), Gilbert, Peoria and Carmel (Calif.), among others, are also involved.

The Prospect Camp will include a series of stations of a variety of baseball drills, a tour of the campus and facilities, and skills discussions with Hale and his coaching staff. Scrimmages will take place in the afternoon.

Toby DeMello, a volunteer assistant coach with Hale’s program, is coordinating the event.

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Tucson High is 2-0 in the after the first two days of the MLK Team Camp with a 10-1 victory over Sahuarita on Friday and 7-0 win over Gilbert on Saturday morning.

The Badgers’ standouts Saturday were senior right-hander Ayden Escarrega, who pitched a shutout through six innings. Mario Bejarano, a senior first baseman/right-hander, hit two triples.

The regular season does not start until March 3 for the Badgers, who welcome the opportunity to play the four games this weekend as a way to gain more experience together leading into the upcoming preseason practices under fourth-year coach Mark Morris.

“It’s good for the team, it’s good for all of us, individually,” Escarrega said about the weekend event. “We felt good there. It’s going to help us going into the season because we have a goal to win 30 games and we have a good chance this year.”

The Badgers are coming off a 14-7 season last year in which they lost in the first round of the 6A state tournament against Mesa Red Mountain.

Bejarano batted .462 with three home runs and 23 RBIs. He and Escarrega are two of 13 seniors Morris will rely heavily on this spring.

“I feel like this year we all have to come together,” said Bejarano, who is headed to Central Arizona College upon graduation. “We have the talent and we work every day.”

Bejarano has been in the public eye with his baseball skills dating to his youth baseball exploits with Team USA in middle school.

“Through the years I’ve gotten strong with my pitching and hitting; I just feel like I have to keep working harder and harder,” Bejarano said.

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Sahuarita was victorious in this game against the TCX Dream (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Arkansas commit Nathan Huie, a burgeoning Class of 2024 prospect at first base and third base for Sahuarita, had two extra-base hits.

Sahuarita bounced back Saturday after losing to the Badgers on Friday. The Mustangs defeated TCX Dream 12-2.

The Mustangs also have a talented right-hander Diego Alvarez, who has signed with Eastern Arizona College.

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Nogales’ baseball team had many standouts in two wins on Friday night, including the exploits of Arizona signee Demetrio Crisantes, a middle infielder.


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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