Little League: American defeats Copper Hills to force another gameby Andy Morales on Jul. 12, 2013, under Sports
Little League All-Star Playoffs
Districts 5 and 12 cover the Tucson Area.
Generally, north of Speedway, west of I-10 and north of Valencia is the dividing line.
District 8 covers the rest of Southern Arizona.
American (4-1) defeated Copper Hills 6-3 Friday night at the Jesse Owens Park to force an “If Game” in the 10-11 championship bracket for District 12.
Copper Hills (3-1) sent American to the Elimination Bracket on Tuesday night but American battled back for the rematch in the championship series where the team from the Rodeo Park area needed to win to stay alive and force another game on Saturday night.
Copper Hills (Sahuarita) put two runners on to start the game after Devin Alvarez sent the first pitch of the game to the fence for a double and then Zachary Rojahn put down a sacrifice bunt that was fielded and thrown to third base in a late attempt to get Alvarez.
Rojan took second base on the next pitch but Miguel Holguin was able to end the threat by picking up back-to-back strikeouts and a ground ball. American took the early lead in the bottom of the first after Aaron Nunez was walked and Jesse Huerta singled. Jose Martinez sacrificed them both over and then Nomar Basurto knocked in Nunez.
Huerta tried to score on the play but he was thrown out at home to prevent further damage.
Copper Hills stranded a runner on third base in the second inning and American was unable to score in the bottom of the second even though Robert Encinas and Holguin started off with singles.
Copper Hills broke through in the fourth after Jesus Morales (no relation) hit a pinch-hit single, Alex Hernandez reached on an error and Cedric Jimenez reached on a fielder’s choice. With two runners on, Alvarez hit a home run to give Copper Hills a 3-1 lead.
American came right back and scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth after Holguin blasted a 2-run homer. Basurto had reached on a triple and Encinas scored him from third base to set up Holguin’s home run.
Gerado Grijalva relieved Holguin in the fifth inning and he shut down six batters in a row to end Copper Hill’s hope of coming back. Basurto gave Grijalva a cushion by hitting a 2-run homer in the bottom of the fifth after Martinez reached on a double.
Hernandez started the game for Copper Hills and Alvarez pitched in the fifth inning.
The two teams will meet each other in the championship game at 6 pm Saturday night at Jesse Owens Park. The state tournament for this division will begin Tuesday, July 16 in Mesa. Coronado (District 5) and the winner between Nogales and Rio Rico in District 8 will also go the state tourney.
The Thornydale Little League Softball All-Star team will be holding a car wash at the Culver’s on Thornydale Saturday morning (8 – noon), July 13 to help get to the state tournament.