CDO holds off seventh-inning Salpointe rally to give veteran coach Hisey first state title

CDO is the 2022 Class 4A champs (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Austin Madsen’s home run to lead off the sixth inning Monday night against Salpointe in the 4A state championship game was like the dam bursting for Canyon del Oro in many ways.

The home run off the base of the scoreboard in left field at Hi Corbett Field — a 380-foot shot — tied the game and ignited a five-run rally in CDO’s 7-6 victory.

The rally proved to be the difference as Salpointe made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh with a three-run rally.

“I’m just happy for these kids, man,” said CDO coach Jason Hisey, in his fourth season as the Dorados’ coach. “The kids are humble and they worked hard. They bought in and I’m happy for them. I’m happy for CDO baseball, too.

“That’s what CDO baseball does, right? They win state championships.”

The Dorados (24-7) won their first state championship since 2015 — ninth title overall — and ended Hisey’s drought in his 17 years as a head coach.

Hisey, a former standout pitcher at Arizona, had three runner-up finishes at Catalina Foothills, coming up short in 2002, 2004 and 2005.

The Dorados also lost to Salpointe in the semifinals last year — only their second loss of the season, finishing 20-2.

“You try to pretend that it doesn’t matter but it does,” Hisey said of the long wait for a title. “It feels good to get it off my back.”

Madsen’s sixth home run — and second against Salpointe this season — tied the game at 3.

His grand slam at Salpointe (22-11) on April 21 put the Dorados ahead in a 6-1 win.

CDO, which won 10 straight games to end the season, rallied for four more runs after his blast in the sixth to take control of the game at that point.

“It was (a) 3-1 (pitch) and he hadn’t thrown curveball for a strike very often,” Madsen said. “I got a hold of it and there might be a shot. When I saw the left fielder with his back turned, I knew that it was out.”

With one out after Madsen’s home run, Lucas Casey was hit by a pitch and Michael Jones doubled to right field. A fielding error on Jacob Charlson’s grounder loaded the bases.

CDO with the championship-winning scorebard background (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Ernie Alvarez followed with an RBI single and Dominic Felix was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to increase CDO’s lead to 6-3. A wild pitch brought in the last run.

“The kids just battled, they fought, they believed the whole way,” said Hisey, whose team rallied from a 3-0 deficit after three innings.

Salpointe’s rally in the seventh included an RBI single by Arizona signee Mason White with one out. A two-run double by Omar Monreal with two outs cut the lead to 7-6.

The game ended on Monreal’s attempted steal of third off the throw from Alvarez, the catcher. It appeared Monreal made a break for third when Alvarez at first mishandled the pitch.

The Lancers have lost in consecutive years in the championship game after winning the first title in program history in 2019 under 14-year coach Danny Preble, who mentioned that his team’s rally in the seventh showed its character.

“I didn’t expect them to quit at any point,” he said. “They’re a resilient bunch, a lot of character. They played for each other all night and all year.

“It’s an honor to coach in a championship game. It’s an honor to be able to get to this point for the kids. They’re the ones that put themselves in this situation.”

Salpointe rallied for 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning after Jose Simon led off the inning with a double and moved to third base on a two-base error to left field off the bat of Monreal.

Connor Raetzman followed with a single to left field, scoring Simon. Roman Basurto then hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Monreal.

White, whose father Ben pitched with the Wildcats, factored into Salpointe increasing its lead to 3-0 in the third.

After Josh Burke walked, White singled with one out, moving to Burke to third base. A balk was called, allowing Burke to come home.

Hisey said he told his players after the early three-run deficit, “Wherever you are is right where you want to be because that’s where you’re at. So no matter what happens, it’s where we wanted to be.

“So the kids bought into it and just kept playing baseball.”

CDO rallied for two runs in the fourth after Felix singled and Blake Lehmbeck walked to lead off the inning. With one out, Jared Aykroyd walked to load the bases.

Pinch-runner Sam Martinez (running for Felix) scored on a fielder’s choice groundout to shortstop. After a walk reloaded the bases, Charlson walked to force in Chase Tackett (pinch-running for Lehmbeck) to cut the lead to 3-2.

The game was also a state championship rematch from when CDO beat Salpointe 12-11 in the 1997 classic at Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium behind a late two-run home run by Shelley Duncan.

“We played ’em twice during the season and beat ’em once,” Charlson said of the intense matchups with Salpointe this year in which the visiting team won both games. ”Just beating a crosstown rival is already a huge game. Being a championship game made it even bigger.

“It’s huge for us staying composed and understanding it’s just a ballgame. You have to have fun and go out there and compete.”


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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