Queen Creek outlasts O'Connor in 10 innings for 6A title

May 15, 2024 by Ben Stapley, AZPreps365

Queen Creek's Jesse Aguirre celebrates as he scores the winning run to defeat O'Connor, 7-6 in 10 innings Tuesday night for the 6A State Championship. (Jose Garcia/AZPreps365)

Queen Creek did it the ol' fashioned way...by earning it. 

Albeit in dramatic, Hollywood fashion, with a walk off RBI base-hit by its most high-profile player--Tait Reynolds--in the bottom of the 10th inning and with the bases loaded.

That's not Queen Creek's style, but its how it won the 6A baseball state championship Tuesday night, 7-6 over a feisty Sandra Day O'Connor team in a game that went 10 innings at Tempe's Diablo Stadium.

The top-seeded Bulldogs overcame an early 5-0 deficit, fighting their way back while riding the unhearalded arm of senior Dylan Weekly, who came in relief to throw eight and two thirds innings of brilliant, gutsy pitching.

Weekly's performance was most fitting.

"Everyone stepped up tonight," Queen Creek coach Mikel Moreno said after the game. "Dylan was amazing and he is special. Dylan was our catcher to start the year, but he struggled after a few games so Manny (Royos) stepped up and won the job from a senior, so it was like 'Dylan hey, you're role is to pitch.' And so he came out of the bullpen like every single game except two or three, and I let him start and we just rolled with him. He's got great stuff."

Queen Creek needed every bit of Weekly's best after O'Connor came out bombs away. Aiden Maselli and Carter Daly drove in RBI's for the Eagles in the first inning. Hustyn Wheeler drove in two runs in the second, followed by a Ky McGary RBI to make the score 5-0.

"I just told the boys 'hey it's ok. It's just the second inning," Moreno said. "Let's just keep working, and having better at bats,' and they just kept chipping away, they just kept fighting and we got a little bit better pitching, and kept making plays and kept knocking on the door."

That's exactly what happened.

Cayden Cooper and Cameron Lopez drove in runs in the second inning to make it 5-2. O'Connor picked up another run in the third to increase the lead to 6-2. 

But that would be the Eagles last run of the season.

Queen Creek would score four runs in the third inning and in dramatic fashion.

A passed ball would score Cayden Cooper from third, before a Jet Berry base hit would send Tait Reynolds home to make the score 6-4.

Two batters later, Manny Hoyos came to the plate with one runner on base, and he'd take it out of the park for a two-run homer, making the score 6-6 in the bottom of the third.

From that point, Weekly would only become sharper from the mound. He wouldn't allow an O'Connor baserunner from the fourth inning on.

Queen Creek pitcher Dylan Weekly gave up one run in 8 and 2/3 innings Tuesday night. (Andy Silvas/Queen Creek Athletics)

Meanwhile, O'Connor reliever Brody Jacobs was finding trouble but getting out of it for as long as he could.

Queen Creek left eight batters stranded between the fifth and eighth inning. Senior Rowan Glover would come on in the eighth and fare out of a few jams. But in the bottom of the 10th, after Jesse Aguirre tripled, and O'Connor would walk two batters to get to Reynolds, the Eagles gave up their last life.

Reynolds had struck out his last time at bat, and he wasn't going to let another opportunity go by.

"it wasn't that much pressure," Reynolds said. "You just have to go up and do it."

With the bases loaded, Reynolds connected high on the bat with a hit that dropped into left field, allowing Jesse Aguire to score from third, and the Bulldog dugout to erupt and celebrate their state title near second base on top of Reynolds.