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Pinal Mountain Little League has breezed through the Softball Little League state championship playoffs held at Ora Mae Harn Park in Marana. at 4-0, the team from Globe has out scored opponents 48-15 including a 13-3 win over Douglas on Saturday.
Douglas (2-2) beat Sunnyside 10-5 last Thursday in final game of Bracket A to qualify for the Championship Bracket but Sunnyside (5-1) battled back through elimination to set up a rematch with Douglas Sunday night.
The winner would face Pinal Mountain and the loser would be sent home with two losses.
Sunnyside led 4-2 after two innings but errors and running mistakes kept Douglas in striking distance. Douglas took a 5-4 lead after three innings but Sunnyside exploded for six in the top of the fourth for what appeared to be a comfortable 10-5 lead.
But, once again, a couple of walks, a few errors and some timely hits put Douglas right back in the game and Sunnyside’s lead shrank to 10-9 after Douglas scored four in the bottom of the fourth.
Douglas scored two more in the fifth to take an 11-10 lead. Ruby Sandoval was hit-by-pitch to start Douglas off and she was replaced by Nikki Peralta on the base paths.
Isabel Tanabe singled one out later and moved to second on the throw. Paola Zamacona induced a fly ball for the second out but Renee Urea doubled to center to bring in two runs.
Sunnyside also benefited from a hit batter and Jezzel Gastelum took first base to start Sunnyside’s rally. Aylin Hernandez picked up an out for Douglas but Rechelle Romero doubled to put two runners on.
Hernandez induced another pop fly and Sunnyside was down to their last out. With two strikes, Vanessa Martinez took a pitch up the middle to score Gastelum and Romero. Zamacona allowed a hit in the bottom of the sixth but Sunnyside held on for the 12-11 win.
For Douglas, Tanabe went 3-4 with four runs scored; Urea went 2-3 with three RBI; Vicki Valenzuela had a double and Janae Aleman went 3-3 with a sacrifice and four RBI. Hernandez pitched the complete game.
For Sunnyside, Jezzel Gastelum went 2-3 with two RBI; Romero went 2-4 with two doubles; Jannie Gastelum had a two-RBI double; Martinez went 2-4 with two RBI and Ivy Nunez had an RBI triple. Romero pitched four innings and Zamacona finished the game for the win.
Sunnyside has to beat Pinal Mountain twice to win the championship. The first game is scheduled for 5 p.m. and the “If Game” for 7:30 p.m. The championship will be played at Ora Mae Harn Park in Marana.
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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