No. 6 CDO avenges earlier loss to No. 2 Salpointe behind Austin Madsen’s first career grand slam

Austin Madsen’s first career grand slam in the sixth inning against Salpointe gave CDO a 4-1 lead (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Two of the top local baseball programs historically played against each other at Salpointe on Thursday night and CDO prevailed 6-1 behind the first career grand slam by Dorado centerfielder Austin Madsen.

The victory enabled CDO, the No. 6-rated 4A team in the state, to split the regular-season series with the No. 2 Lancers, who won earlier this month at the Dorados’ home field.

CDO (18-7, 6-1) can tie Salpointe (18-9, 7-1) for the 4A Kino championship with a win over visiting Pueblo on Friday in the final day of the regular season. The Lancers host 5A power Nogales, the No. 1 team in the state of that classification, on Friday in a non-region game.

“Big, big confidence booster for us … hopefully, maybe, maybe not, we’ll see those guys (Salpointe) again and do the same thing we did tonight,” said Madsen, who has committed to play at Pima Community College.

The CDO-Salpointe rivalry is one of the best in the state.

The schools played each other for the state championship in 1997 with the Dorados, coached by Phil Wright, winning that game 12-11 behind Shelley Duncan’s two-run home run late in the game.

“We feed off each other,” Wright told the Tucson Citizen before that game about the rivalry between the Lancers. “They’ve helped us get to an elite level, and in turn, we have done the same thing for them.”

Salpointe’s coach at the time, Kent Winslow, who took the Lancers to consecutive state championship games against Horizon in 1996 before facing CDO, mentioned of the rivalry with the Dorados:

“This game, for me and my players, is more of a back-alley brawl than a state championship.”

Some 25 years later, the intensity has not diminshed.

Definitely a lot of passion displayed from each dugout on Thursday with even a walk wildly celebrated by each team.

Salpointe’s Robert Lopez (above) and CDO’s Dominic Felix engaged in a good pitcher’s duel early on (photos by Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

“We just wanted to compete for 21 outs and we wanted to play well against a good team,” said CDO coach Jason Hisey, a former standout pitcher for Jerry Kindall at Arizona. “We worked out some adjustments and made some improvements from the last time we played these guys. Some of the stuff showed up so that was nice to see.”

The 5-3 victory for Salpointe at CDO was part of its 11-game winning streak that was snapped by the Dorados on Thursday night.

Salpointe never trailed in the earlier game after taking a 3-0 lead in the first inning on a three-run home run by Mason White, a shortstop who has signed to play at Arizona. White hit another home run in the fifth inning.

A left-handed batter, he led off the scoring on Thursday night with a solo home run to right field in the fourth inning.

The game was a pitcher’s duel between right-handers Dominic Felix of CDO and Robert Lopez of Salpointe through the first five innings.

Lopez, who won the previous game behind nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings, was again dominant on the mound through the first five innings Thursday striking out six while shutting out the Dorados.

Chris Humphreys and Michael Jones walked to lead off the sixth inning for CDO and Felix was intentionally walked to load the bases after a wild pitch allowed Humphreys and Jones to advance to third and second base.

After a fielder’s choice grounder to shortstop that forced out Humphreys at home, Madsen went to an 0-2 count after swinging and missing on two curveballs. He then connected on his first career grand slam, a deep shot to center field off another curve, to give CDO a 4-1 lead.

“I wanted to get up there and hit a ball to the outfield and get that one run in,” Madsen said. “I had two terrible swings — just choke up and swing as hard as I can. That’s what happens.”

CDO added two insurance runs in the seventh inning, including an RBI single by Blake Lehmbeck. Felix, who walked earlier in the inning, also scored on a throwing error when Salpointe tried to turn a double play.

Felix and Lehmbeck shut down Salpointe’s potent lineup, combining for 12 strikeouts.

Felix, who has signed with New Mexico, scattered five hits in five innings with seven strikeouts and two walks for the victory. Lehmbeck allowed only two hits in the last two innings with five strikeouts and no walks.

“It’s definitely been a game on our mind the last couple of weeks especially since the last time we played, the loss, but we prepared the last two weeks,” Felix said. “We worked hard in practice every day. We came out prepared. We came out motivated and that showed on the field.

“We kept our cool from the big situations and prevailed with the win through the hard work and dedication.”

Lehmbeck and Felix pitched the last game against Salpointe and combined for 11 strikeouts with Lehmbeck the starter. In the two games against the Lancers, they struck out 23 batters with six walks and allowed nine hits and six earned runs in 14 innings.


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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