CDO baseball getting hot at right time with last week of regular season approaching

CDO’s Lucas Casey (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Canyon del Oro’s baseball team endured two difficult stretches this season heading into Friday’s game at nemesis Salpointe, which is rated No. 1 among 4A schools in the state.

The rematch of last year’s state championship game was a good measurement for how the No. 4 Dorados could handle a difficult challenge after suffering shortcomings in such circumstances earlier this season.

CDO went 2-6 between March 1-14 with losses against winning teams such as Sunnyside, Nogales and Tucson High. After stringing together three straight wins, the Dorados lost consecutive games at home against two more formidable opponents — Salpointe and Catalina Foothills.

Jason Hisey’s team again won three straight games before traveling to Salpointe on Friday.

“We scuffled a little bit early and I think we’re just playing with a lot more confidence right now; I think that’s the most important thing right now,” said Hisey after the Dorados beat the Lancers 9-1 behind the pitching and hitting of senior Lucas Casey.

A bases-clearing double by sophomore Tarrell Reid in the first inning set the tone.

The three runs proved to be the difference with Casey, a right-hander headed to Cal State Northridge, pitching a complete game.

He allowed only three hits with six strikeouts and two walks.

His bases-clearing triple in the seventh increased the lead to 9-1.

“It’s huge,” Casey said of his performance. “We came back after losing to them at home. It’s always great to punch back and stun the crowd.”

CDO is now 15-9 overall and tied atop the 4A Kino standings with Salpointe at 5-1.

The Lancers (19-7) had their 11-game winning streak snapped.

Each team has two region games remaining next week.

Salpointe ends the regular season with a non-region game at Nogales on Friday.

The Dorados conclude their regular season April 24 at home against Pueblo.

In regards to CDO’s arduous start this season in defense to its state title, Hisey said, “We lost to some pretty good teams.”

“We lost to Nogales, Tucson High, Catalina Foothills, Salpointe … We do have some seniors but the majority of our team were sophomores on last year’s team,” he added. “Even though they were on the team they weren’t necessarily impact guys.

“I think it took them a while to get comfortable and get their feet underneath them. They started to believe they can be an impact guy this year as opposed to a role player, and that’s starting to happen. It’s good to see.”

Reid finished with four RBIs and senior second baseman Jacob Charlson went 2 for 3 with two runs and an RBI.

Charlson, who had two RBIs and a stolen base against Salpointe in last year’s state championship game, leads CDO with a .441 batting average. The next four regulars leading the Dorados in hitting are either sophomores or juniors, including Reid at .305.

Ernie Alvarez, a junior catcher, had an RBI single as part of a six-run seventh inning for the Dorados. He is batting .349.

“We had a rough start (to the season) … we figured it out,” Casey said. “We hit our stride. Don’t let the Dorados get hot.”

Soundly defeating the No. 1 4A team in the state qualifies as the Dorados getting hot.

“This is our game, it is every year; we try our hardest every year,” Casey said about beating rival Salpointe. “It lights a fire under us for sure.”


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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