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Vail Rincon Little League defeated Sunnyside 5-1 to win the District 12 9-10 championship Thursday night at Jesse Owens Park. Rincon (4-0) went undefeated in the tournament and will advance to the state tournament next Tuesday in Kingman.
Rincon will join District 5 champion Oro Valley at the state tournament. Nogales and Rio Rico are playing in the District 8 championship Friday night.
Sunnyside (3-2) lost to Rincon 5-2 in the Winner’s Bracket final on Tuesday night and defeated Freedom 11-4 Wednesday night to get back to the championship game.
Desert Sky sixth grader Isaiah Jackson limited Sunnyside to one hit and one unearned run while striking out 10 batters. He also hit a solo shot to help his cause. He is the younger brother of former Cienega and current Utah standout Andre Jackson.
“I talked to my brother before the game and he told me to hit a dinger,” Jackson said. “I think he’s going to be happy when I talk to him tonight.”
Benji Cazares took the mound for Sunnyside and he limited Rincon to three earned runs while picking up five strikeouts.
Felipe Moreno, Jr. broke up the no-hitter in the top of the fourth on a screamer down the line to score Cesar Orozco from second base. Orozco had reached on an error. Mando Guzman and Lalo Torres both drew walks.
Rincon scored three in the bottom of the first, one in the second and another in the fourth. Brady Carson went 2-3; Christian Cruz went 2-3; Jackson had his home run; Matt Altherr had a single and two RBI; Isaiah Higuera had an RBI single; Noah Gomez had an RBI and Ethan McHolm had a hit.
With his pitching count rising, Jackson had to leave the game in the sixth with one out. McHolm came in for the finish.
“I felt comfortable tonight,” said Jackson. “Everything was working. I wish I could have finished the game but I’m happy with all the strikeouts.”
The District 12 Little League championship takes place Friday night with Sahuarita Copper Hills playing the winner of Rincon and Freedom at 7 p.m. at Freedom Park.
The state senior baseball tournament started Thursday night at Udall Park and will continue until next Wednesday. Sahuarita Copper Hills defeated Kingman 8-2, Western defeated Ahwatukee 7-6 and Nogales National faces Phoenix Diamondback on Friday.
The state Little League softball tournament is being played at Ora Mae Harn Park in Marana. Sunnyside and Douglas are still alive.
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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