2012 Tucson Tour de Baseball & Softballby Andy Morales on Apr. 28, 2012, under Sports
MORE PHOTOS: http://andymorales.smugmug.com/
Too many parent requests with too many venues. What is one guy supposed to do?
The opening round of the 2012 Division I and II baseball and softball playoffs began Saturday at six schools located in Southern Arizona.
Baseball: Tucson hosted Corona del Sol at Cherry Field; Cienega hosted Valley Vista;
Canyon del Oro hosted Flagstaff; Salpointe hosted Sahuarita and Ironwood Ridge hosted Sahuaro.
Softball: Buena hosted St. Mary’s; Cienega hosted Mesa and Sahuaro hosted Kellis.
I devised a plan where I would visit every single game on Saturday – except for Buena because I’m not totally insane. I figured it was entirely possible but it had probably not been done before because every game was slated to start at 11 am.
I had bouts of “road rage,” spots where I told myself I was going to make it and stretches were I knew I wouldn’t make it. I told myself I would not stop to talk to anyone so I apologize if I walked right on by.
Let me just say, every cliché there is about drivers in Tucson and about our streets are true.
There were quite a few obstacles that I did not think about when I devised this plan at 2 am Saturday morning. There was also one major obstacle that prevented me from completing my goal but it was not my fault:
10:40 AM IRONWOOD RIDGE
Arrived at my first destination knowing I would get some shots of Sahuaro and Ironwood Ridge warming up for their game.
Sahuaro sophomore pitcher Vinnie Tarantola was in the bullpen but I had no idea if he was pitching or not. The Ironwood Ridge boys were loose and playing games in front of their dugout while their coaches got the field ready.
Good start for me. Sahuaro went on to beat Ironwood Ridge 6-0.
11:04 AM CANYON DEL ORO (6.2 miles)
Listened to “American Pie” by Don McLean and was feeling pretty darn good until I reached the first of the 12 speed bumps that terrorize the Dorado parking lot. I had not planned for those even though I knew about them. Creeping along, I still managed to catch up to an elderly couple who appeared to have a lot of questions for the people taking money at the gate.
After a couple of minutes I could see there was a line of five cars behind me forming and I hoped they could see that I was not the one causing the delay. I felt like hitting my horn but I knew I would have to show my ID. Finally through the gate.
Witnessed CDO commit a couple of errors and they fell behind 2-0 on two unearned runs. Freshman Gabe Benavides was on the mound for the Dorados.
CDO evidently came back and beat Flagstaff 12-4.
No speeding in Oro Valley. That was the second item that I had forgotten to plan for. The notorious speed trap had me under control but, as I was going 45 mph, I was passed by a different elderly couple that’s was going 55 mph.
How could that be? Well, I noticed they had a volunteer police sticker on their rear bumper grrr……
Passed a Chick-fil-A cow by Tucson Mall and it put me in a good mood but, when I realized the signal lights in Tucson are NOT synchronized, my mood quickly changed back.
Music on the radio included “Born to be Wild,” “Old Days” and my Beach Boys CD.
11:35 AM SALPOINTE (11.2 miles)
The next major obstacle was a funeral procession turning into Holy Hope Cemetery on Oracle. It helped take my mind off my travel problems but I’m taking a different route next time, no offense.
Third inning and Salpointe was up 1-0. I knew I could not stop and talk to anyone. Luckily, Salpointe is hip on the media aspect and understands what we do and they understand what it means to their kids to have us there so the lady at the gate waved me through as I was running in. (Hint).
Snapped a few photos but realized later that I didn’t take nay shots of Sahuarita. I cursed myself for several miles. Salpointe won 11-1.
11:55 AM CHERRY FIELD (9.6 miles)
Smooth traffic. Finished listening to Beach Boys CD.
As I was driving to the entrance to Cherry Field I noticed at least six empty lots in the gated area so I figured I could park, run down and take a few shots and then run out.
It was not to be. The lady (guard?) at this field told me she was “saving” a couple of spots for handicapped parking. I am always up for that but I pointed out there were more than a “couple” of spots available and I was only going to be there for three minutes. She told me “no way” and walked away.
She ruined my plans because I did not have time to find a spot in the neighborhood surrounding Cherry Field. Hey, if she didn’t want her school to get media coverage then who am I to argue with that? I just wonder how long she wants my media black out?
One funny part about all of that was that ” Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” was playing on the radio. Karma.
Unfortunately, Tucson lost 7-6.
“Hurts so Good,” “Lean on Me.” and ” Silent Lucidity” was on the radio after that.
12:14 PM SAHUARO (12.3 miles)
I had an unofficial police escort from Broadway and Kolb all the way to Camino Seco because a cop car was in some sort of pursuit with it’s lights flashing in front of me. I was far enough behind the police car (legally) but it was clear sailing.
Sahuaro was up 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning when I arrived. Amanda Nicholas had already hit a homerun but I got to see her get plucked with a pitch (retaliation?).
Sahuaro was loading them up when I left and they won 5-0.
“Superman,” by Three Doors Down and “La Grange” by ZZ Top took me to Broadway and Houghton where I had the misfortune of getting behind a guy in one of those really, really big diesel trucks on a one lane stretch of road. You know, the kind of truck that were made for heavy duty work but are usually handed out to foremen…
Well, as usual, his “working” truck was spotless and we spent the next countless miles driving ten miles under the speed limit. Another Tucson cliché is true.
I found it odd that “Take it Easy” would be followed by “Revolution” on fm 107.5 but I figured it was more karma but I also knew I would not make any of the Cienega softball game now thanks to this gentleman.
I did get a text at 8:41 in the morning advising me that the Cienega baseball game was pushed back to noon because Valley Vista’s bus broke down. I got another text at 11:15 am telling that it broke down again so the game would be played at 1:15 pm.
The truck finally turned off on Rita Ranch…..I was beyond road rage at that point but the cars behind me let him have it as they passed him. I was just glad they knew I was not the problem.
12:45 PM CIENEGA (16.3 miles)
The Cienega had just won 7-0 moments earlier and I missed junior outfielder AJ Hervey’s inside-the-park home run.
“It was my first inside-the-park homerun ever,” said an excited Hervey. Hervey was able to see her ball fly over the first baseman’s head down the right field line and then she picked up her head coach Eric Tathum at third.
“He was waving me around as I was rounding first base. It turned out to be a close play at home but I was able to slide in there for the score.”
Hervey is really excited about her team’s prospects especially with freshman Kayla Green in the circle. “She’s on fire!”
Indalecio Romo took the mound for the Cienega baseball team and he had some early struggles and gave up three straight hits in the top of the first inning to put Valley Vista up 2-0.
Romo would help himself out moments later by taking a pitch over the right field fence to score himself and TJ Snyder. Snyder started things off by reaching on an error.
Alex Chavez started the bottom of the second inning off with a double but Cienega could not move him over struck out three times in a row. The Bobcats struck out eight times through the first four innings and six of those were called third-strikes. That is very
uncharacteristic of a Tony Gabusi coached team.
I had to leave but I received another text telling me that Cienega went on the win 6-5.
If I had a helicopter…I could have taken in the Buena game……