MLB scouts aplenty in CDO’s win over Sahuaro


Hayden May had a 3-run homer against Sahuaro. Andy Morales/ Photo.

Hayden May had a 2-run homer against Sahuaro. Andy Morales/ Photo.


For any other high school pitcher, a 5-inning start with 9 strikeouts and one unearned run against one of the top programs in the state would be a career game but Sahuaro ace Alex Verdugo is in another class. He is not just “any other pitcher.”

To be sure, I asked several of the two dozen MLB scouts clogging up both bull pens at Canyon del Oro Thursday night how they saw things after CDO defeated Sahuaro 5-3 in a playoff-like battle.

A few said they liked what they saw but a few said he had a bad start. Huh?

My guess is those scouts who were down on him came from Major League teams that had no chance of drafting Verdugo. But, they all agreed that ASU had no chance of keeping Verdugo. I agreed to that.

Verdugo was one of three standouts mentioned by the scouts in attendance. CDO juniors Nick Ames and Erick Migueles were also on their short list but several others came up big in front of the scouts. Parents can’t buy this kind of exposure.

Junior Gabe Benavides took the mound for CDO and he pitched into the fourth inning before being pulled. He had given up a first-inning single and a couple of walks but he loaded the bases in the fourth with one out. It was a good showing against one of the top-hitting teams in the state.

Benavides gave way to junior Max Smith and Smith picked up two outs to get out of the jam. Meanwhile, Verdugo gave up a single and a walk in the first inning but he retired eight straight until Migueles drove a pitch to right field for a one-out double.

Verdugo picked up a strikeout and then issued a walk. He induced a ground ball for the third out but an error allowed Migueles to score the go-ahead run to put CDO up 1-0 after four.

Verdugo had three more strikeouts in the fifth inning and the radar guns had him still flirting with the low 90’s but he was replaced in the sixth. Junior Nate Soriano responded and doubled in two runs in the sixth and then junior Hayden May knocked himself and Soriano in with a home run. CDO was suddenly up 5-0.

Smith began to tire and Sahuaro got back in the game with a single by lead-off switch-hitter Hunter Green, a two-out walk to Verdugo, followed by a home run by Justin Hammergren to make it 5-3.

Winston Welch followed that blast with a single but the rally was ended when CDO’s TJ Andricopoulos came in for the save with a strikeout.

For Sahuaro, Green went 2-4; Verdugo went 1-2 with two walks; Hammergren and his homerun and 3 RBIs and Welch went 1-3.

Tristan Peterson picked up a single for CDO; Migueles had a double, 2 runs and two walks; Soriano had a 2 RBI double; May had a 2 RBI homerun and Austin France had a hit.

It doesn’t get any easier for Sahuaro (4-1) because they will host Catalina Foothills (5-0) Friday night and CDO (6-0) will play next in the Lancer Classic.

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