Sun Belt College League

Gauchos force deciding Game 3 of Sun Belt College League championship series vs. Gamblers

Old Tucson Gauchos’ Hayden Palmer (Pusch Ridge/Pima College) is about to hit an RBI single with the beautiful Tucson sunset in the background (Javier Morales/

The Old Tucson Gauchos’ nine-run second inning, fueled by a grand slam by Joel Lindahl, and the pitching of CDO graduate Dante Schindler propelled them to an 11-1 win Wednesday night over the Speedway Gamblers in Game 2 of the Sun Belt College League best-of-three championship series.

The win by the Gauchos forces a deciding game Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Kino Annex Fields. The Gamblers won the first game 3-1 on Tuesday night.

The Gauchos’ first inning ended in a third baseman-to-second baseman-to-first baseman triple play, but they bounced back strongly in the second inning to take a 9-0 lead after sending 12 batters to the plate.

Lindahl, who played at Cochise College and is headed to Northwestern Oklahoma State, capped the scoring in the inning with the grand slam.

Three straight walks with one out was followed by RBI singles by Hayden Palmer (Pusch Ridge/Pima College) and Carson Miller (Marana/University of the Southwest), a two-run double by Liam Padden (CDO/Mercy College), RBI single by Isaiah Pintor (CDO/Pima College) and Jovanni Toledo (Sunnyside grad) getting hit by a pitch before Lindahl’s grand slam.

That was by far enough support for Schindler, who scattered five hits in seven innings while striking out seven and not allowing a walk.

Schindler, a right-hander and infielder, was on Pima College’s team in 2022 after graduating from CDO in 2021. He sat out this spring and is aiming to either return to Pima or attend Gateway Community College in Phoenix this school year.

The CDO trio of Padden, Pintor and Schindler was dominant.

Padden and Pintor each went 2 for 4 with a run and two RBIs.

The Gamblers were led by the 2-for-3 performance by Devin Alvarez (Sahuarita/Eastern Arizona College).

After Ironwood Ridge graduate Aaron Cabrera (SUNY Erie Community College) allowed the grand slam in relief, the left-hander was highly effective thereafter for the Gamblers.

He retired 10 straight batters and allowed only one more hit the rest of the game. He went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two hits, three earned runs with four strikeouts and three walks.

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! 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, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, 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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