Catalina Foothills, Nogales advance to 5A baseball semis

May 9, 2023 by Jose Garcia, AZPreps365

Catalina Foothills has its sights set on the 5A baseball semifinals. (Jose Garcia/azpreps365)

A seventh inning Chaparral wild pitch kept it from nearly completing a wild rally.

That errant toss Monday scored a run that at the time seemed unimportant for Catalina Foothills, which took a 6-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh. But that insurance run kept Catalina Foothills alive and eliminated Chaparral, 6-5, from the 5A Conference baseball tournament.

“They (Chaparral) are a great team,” Catalina Foothills coach Lance Robertson said. “They have nothing to hang their heads about. They fought until the end. We knew they were going to do that. Every run mattered at the end. It was such a great high school game.”

The same can be said about the first elimination game at Tempe Diablo Stadium Monday, when Nogales also advanced to Wednesday’s 5A semifinals after defeating Canyon View 5-4 in eight innings.

An error, three walks and hit-by-pitch by Catalina Foothills and RBI hits by Cody Estes and Chris Newstrom for Chaparral (22-9) in the bottom of the seventh increased the stress levels.

“It was a little nerve-wracking in the end,” Robertson said. “But we’ve had great pitching all year. And that’s what has kept us in games.”

With the bases full, Catalina Foothills reliever Ganon Dwyer induced a fly ball to left field to end the game.

Starter Ethan Bell allowed just one run and five hits in the first six innings before exiting during the seventh inning. 

Home runs by cleanup hitter Anthony Diaz and Troy Sanders and an RBI triple by Matt Adams provided the power Catalina Foothills also needed to advance. On Wednesday at Hohokam Stadium, the 25-2-1 Tucson team will play Horizon, which defeated Catalina Foothills 8-4 on Thursday.

In the other 5A semifinal, Nogales and Casteel will square off at the same site. No. 2 Casteel run-ruled Nogales 10-0 on Thursday.

Nogales’ nucleus is new, but the winning never seems to graduate. One of Arizona’s power programs is two wins away from reaching the 5A final for the second consecutive year.

The 25-7 team eliminated up-and-coming Canyon View, 5-4, Monday after Luis Martin Romero’s RBI walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Romero, Nogales’ starting pitcher, No. 2 hitter and one of a handful of Nogales’ left-handed hitters, went to the opposite field to drive in Jorge Amaya with the game-ending hit.

Canyon View’s six errors, three of which came in the third inning when Nogales went up 4-2, proved costly.

The final error allowed Amaya to advance to third base a batter before the game-winning hit by Romero. Amaya went 3-for-4 with three singles and an RBI.

Nogales used three pitchers, Romero (5 2/3 innings), Esteban Acevedo (faced three batters) and Salvador Valenzuela (1 2/3).

Tyler Vanmeter had two hits for Canyon View (17-13).