It’s summer. Backpacks have been replaced by bat bags and teachers have turned into coaches. Homework? Only if you don’t know your signs.
The Little League and Baja leagues are about to go to their respective all-star phases but some league championships are still to be won first.
The No. 4 Las Niñas Diamond Divas played No. 1 El Rio Fire & Ice Friday night for a shot at the 8U Baja Tucson City championship game against the Oro Valley Lil’ Cuties and the Divas came out on top 6-0.
No. 2 Oro Valley defeated the No.3 Sahuaro Firecrackers 6-1 Thursday night to reach the championship game scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. at Sam Lena Park. Las Niñas defeated No. 5 Tanque Verde Purple Thunder 9-1 in the first round on Thursday.
Las Niñas scored two runs in the first inning Friday night thanks to a two-RBI single by Ava to score both Belen and Tatyana. Mikaela was able to strikeout the next two batters to help El Rio get out of the inning.
Belen limited El Rio to a leadoff single from Alyssa in the bottom of the first and held El Rio to just one hit by Tatiana in the second inning. Meanwhile, Las Niñas added another run in the top of the second inning thanks to a leadoff single by Issa and an RBI single by Aaliah.
Tatyana hit a double to start off the top of the third and Talisa and Bryza had RBI singles to give Las Niñas a 6-0 lead. Tatyana took over in the circle and she limited El Rio to one hit the rest of the way while striking out five.
A third grader at Liberty Elementary, Tatyana is the daughter of Cholla softball coach Raul Vega. “I’m really excited,” Tatyana said about qualifying for the championship game.
“It’s really cool to play for a City championship. We came a long way.”
About all those strikeouts? “I like them because that helps us win!”
Harley and Alyssa also saw some pitching time for El Rio with Alyssa picking up three strikeouts to stop Las Niñas in the fourth. Alyssa went 2-for-2 at the plate with her teammate Kali being the only runner to reach third base for the Diamond Divas.
Also a third grader, Kali is the daughter of former University of Arizona softball standout Stacy Redondo. Redondo does double duty as both Kali’s coach and teacher at Roskruge.
“Third place is good,” Kali said. “I like hitting, throwing and being with my friends the most. I like everything about softball.”
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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here, on AZPreps365.com and on the pages of the Vail Voice and the Tanque Verde Voice. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com