Nick Arias helps fuel comeback victory over Basha to keep the Badgers alive

Ruben Villaescusa got the win for Tucson. (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson)

A team might have to beat the best on the quest to be the best and that’s what Tucson High will need to do at Hamilton on Saturday. Hamilton (24-4) is the top seed in the 6A playoffs but the Huskies fell to No. 8 Chaparral 5-0 in the second round of the state playoffs Tuesday night. The loss dropped Hamilton to the Elimination Bracket where the team got past No. 12 Corona del Sol 9-3 on Thursday at home to stay alive.


Meanwhile, No. 9 Tucson (22-8) lost to Chaparral 6-4 in the first round and the team regrouped with win-or-go-home victories over No 16 San Luis (18-11) Tuesday night and over No. 13 Basha (17-13) on Thursday at home. Basha led Tucson 7-2 heading to the bottom of the fifth inning and it looked like the Badger season might be over but the team still had plenty of bats to work with.

Down 7-2, Jaden Leon and Mario Bejarano reached after both being hit by pitch and Nick Arias hit a home run with two outs to cut the lead down to 7-5. Benji Cazares and Ruben Villaescusa combined on the mound to work out of a jam in the top of the sixth inning to keep the game close for what took place in the bottom half of the inning.

Cazares singled to lead off the deciding frame and then Andres Flores walked. Juan Hernandez singled to load the bases with no outs and then Isaac Ramirez knocked in Cazares to make it 7-6. Ruben Castro was hit-by-pitch to bring in the tying run and then Arias put the Badgers up 8-7 on a fielder’s choice one out later.

Jordan Vigil gave the Bears hope with a leadoff single in the seventh but Villaescusa induced a pop fly and he picked up two strikeouts for the win.

As mentioned before, the Badgers will travel to play at Hamilton at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The winner of that game will advance to the next round of the elimination Bracket on Tuesday, May 10.

Tucson took a 2-0 lead in the first inning against Basha and that held up until the fourth where Gavin Smith and Nate Pokorney went deep to help fuel five runs. Smith knocked in two more runs in the top of the fifth for the 7-2 lead.

Dallin Harrison got the start for the Bears and Lucas Brutsche also saw action on the mound. Bejarano and Ayden Escarrega took the ball before Cazares took over.


Named one of “Arizona’s Heart & Sol” by KOLD and Casino del Sol, Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and a 2019 AZ Education News recognition. He was 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 and his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is a 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, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. He earned a Distinguished Service Award from Amphitheater and he was recognized by City Councilman Richard Fimbres. Contact Andy Morales at amoralesmytucson@yahoo.com

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
To Top