Saguaro over CDO 2-1 in a pitching duel

May 14, 2024 by Andy Morales, AZPreps365

Saguaro (Andy Morales/AZPreps365)

With the game tied 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth, sophomore catcher Alain Gudino-Gomez hit a ground ball up the middle off the back of the foot of Canyon del Oro pitcher Grant Young as he was completing his delivery.

That big break gave the Sabercats momentum in a tight pitching duel. Saguaro had the winning run on in courtesy runner Vinnie Keck, and then a walk issued to Cam Schmidt moved Keck to second base. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt, and then AJ Busseri hit into a fielder’s choice to score Keck during a close play at home.

That was all the Sabercats needed as ace Cam Caminiti closed out the game in the top of the seventh to give the Sabercats a 2-1 victory in the 4A state championship at Tempe Diablo Stadium late Monday night.

Canyon del Oro (Andy Morales/AZPresp365)


Caminiti (10-0) finished the game with 11 strikeouts and ended his senior season with 119 in only 52.2 innings pitched. A tall lefty known to hit 95 mph, Caminiti is expected to go early in the MLB Draft on July 14.

“When you’re throwing that hard against kids this young, it’s just very difficult,” Canyon del Oro head coach Jason Hisey said. “The goal against someone like that is maybe put the ball in play and force some tough plays. The thing is a majority of the time, you’re swinging defensively so the ball is not put in play.”

Young (10-1) was right there with Caminiti until the bottom of the sixth, when he was one or two pitches away. Gomez reached on a 1-2 pitch and Schmidt came back from an 0-2 count for a walk. Junior Tarrell Reid took the ball and Busseri picked up his infield RBI on a 2-2 count. Reid collected two outs to end the threat and then came up to the plate with two outs in the top of the seventh. He took his first pitch from Caminiti a few feet outside of the third base foul pole, but a fly ball on the next pitch ended the game.

The Sabercats took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a two-out RBI from Gudino-Gomez to score Taichi Ebino, who was running for Caminiti. The Dorados tied the game in the top of the fifth after Michael Chop drove in Adrian Encinas, who was running for Grant, with two outs.

Saguaro picked up the fourth state championship in program history, and the first since 2011, one year after dropping the 2023 state championship to Canyon del Oro.

“We talked about a Revenge Tour and this put an exclamation point on a unicorn type of season,” Saguaro coach Joe Muecke said on the second chance victory over the Dorados.

Canyon del Oro has ten state championships in 14 trips to the final day and four of those championships came at the 5A level, where the team will be competing for the next two years due to an increase in enrollment. Under Hisey, the Dorados have gone 16-2 in the state playoffs since 2021, including a semifinal in 2021 (before the double-elimination format was adopted), two state championships and a runner-up finish. Hisey also led Catalina Foothills to three runner-up finishes between 2002 and 2005, and he passed the 400 career-win mark this year.

Muecke started at Saguaro in 2014 but he was also an assistant coach on the 2010 and 2011 championship teams.