GOLDEN MOMENT: CDO Dorados repeat as 4A state champions, earn 10th title overall

CDO celebrates its 10th state championship in baseball (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

TEMPE — Fourteen games into this season, Canyon del Oro looked like it would not make the state playoffs and have the opportunity to defend its 4A state championship earned last year against Salpointe at Hi Corbett Field.

The Dorados lost six of eight games and were 7-7 overall on March 14.

The seven losses equaled the amount of defeats suffered last season (with a 24-7 record) when coach Jason Hisey won his first state championship after coming up short in three title games with Catalina Foothills.

“We just had to get better,” Hisey said Monday night of CDO’s turbulent start to this season. “We had to feel better. We had to pitch better and hit better.”

Can’t get much better than this.

The fifth-seeded Dorados won 11 of their last 12 games, including all five in the playoffs, to achieve a repeat championship with the 4-1 win over No. 2 Scottsdale Saguaro on Monday night at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

The Dorados (22-10) became the fifth school to reach at least 10 state championships — fourth from Southern Arizona — joining Tucson High (29), St. David (18), Nogales (11) and Scottsdale Chaparral (10).

“The kids bought in,” Hisey said of the late-season surge. “The kids worked hard. They sacrificed for the unknown the rest of the season and good things happened. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

CDO starting right-hander Lucas Casey, who is bound for Cal State Northridge, is the unquestionable MVP for the Dorados because of his unmatched contribution to their dramatic turnaround this season.

Casey improved to 11-1 with a 1.43 ERA, pitching 6 1/3 innings for the victory against Saguaro, which eliminated Sahuarita with two wins against the Mustangs in the semifinal round last week.

He allowed four hits. He struck out seven with walked three.

He left the mound with one out in the seventh inning because his pitch count reached the maximum allowed of 105.

Chris Humphreys relieved him and got the last two batters to line out and strike out.

“I knew I had to come in here and perform for the guys,” Casey said. “I go at least six innings every game that I pitch. I knew I had to come out here and do it again.”

When Humphreys took the mound, “I knew it was handed to a great guy,” Casey said.

“It always sucks to have to come out of the game and I couldn’t finish it because of pitch-count reasons,” he added. “I wasn’t mad about it. I was excited to collect two more outs for team in right field. I was giving it off to a great guy. He knows how to pitch. He pitches well.”

Humphreys, 5-foot-9 and 155 pounds, was huge.

He earlier hit a two-run single in the second inning to give CDO a 4-0.

The two batters he faced in the seventh lined out and struck out to end the game. He threw his glove high in the air on the mound and CDO’s players rushed him in celebration.

When he replaced Casey, Humphreys considered it a challenge to “shove it down their throat,” he said.

“You just have to go in there and attack,” said Humphreys, who was 2-1 with a 3.23 ERA in 14 appearances this season. “You can’t really show your weak side. You just have to man up, throw it down the middle and see if they can hit it.”

The Dorados chased Saguaro left-handed starter Cade Shurman (7-2) after scoring two runs in each of the first two innings.

Michael Jones opened the scoring in the top of the first, hitting a triple with two outs, scoring Jacob Charlson (who earlier hit a single).

Ernie Alvarez followed with what looked like a routine pop up to shallow center field that was lost in the sky by the center fielder. The ball dropped and Alvarez continued to second base for the unconventional double. Jones ran home to give CDO a 2-0 lead.

Sam Martinez singled and Adrien Marquez walked to lead off the second.

After Jackson Kokoskie (son of Arizona basketball head trainer Justin Kokoskie) laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Martinez and Marquez up a base, Humphreys brought them home and increased the lead to 4-0 with a single to center field.

“Going into the week, I had been struggling all week and the coaches just told me to take things slow and play my game — and I did,” said Humphreys, who was without a hit in his previous 10 at-bats spanning three games. “That hit right there maybe flipped momentum, and it completely did.”

Casey encountered his most difficult situation when Saguaro loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth. He allowed a single and walked a batter with two outs. A wild pitch on a third strike prolonged the inning and loaded the bases.

Saguaro used a freshman as a pinch-hitter and Casey struck him out to end the threat.

“Lucas has been tremendous the entire year,” Hisey said. “You look at all of our games, even the big games he pitched down the stretch — he pitched three or four of our playoff games — he’s been unbelievable.

“We’re 11-1 with him and 10-9 without him so do the math.”

The Sabercats scored in the sixth after Cam Schmidt walked to lead off the inning and was replaced by pinch-runner Brick Schultz, who stole second base.

Schultz moved to third base on a groundout and then scored on another fielder’s choice grounder to cut the lead to 4-1.

The Dorados found it difficult to rally against right-handed reliever Billy Gregory, who allowed only one hit in three innings of relief. He struck out two with no walks.

Gregory was relieved by Cam Caminiti to start the seventh and CDO greeted Caminiti (cousin of former big-leaguer Ken Caminiti) with the first two batters reaching base on a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Caminiti worked out of the situation by retiring the last three batters.

The Dorados’ 10 championship teams with the coach —

  • 1979 (AA) — Roger Werbylo
  • 1984 (AAA) — Roger Werbylo
  • 1994 (5A) — Phil Wright
  • 1997 (5A) — Phil Wright
  • 2000 (5A) — Kent Winslow
  • 2002 (5A) — Keith Francis
  • 2009 (4A Div. I) — Len Anderson
  • 2015 (Div. II) — Keith Francis
  • 2022 (4A) — Jason Hisey
  • 2023 (4A) — Jason HIsey


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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