Horizon Wins Marathon For 5A Crown . Hamilton Claims 6A Title
Kody Huff probably probably had no trouble sleeping last night.
Horizon’s do-everything senior squatted behind the dish for 4 innings, played shortstop for 4 innings, and tossed 8 shutout frames on the bump as Horizon outlasted Nogales 7-4 in a 16 inning marathon.
The game was the longest championship game in Arizona baseball history, and tied a 2007 5A2 semi-final match up between Desert Mountain and Sunrise Mountain for the longest tournament game ever.
Things didn’t look great for the Huskies early on, as starter Sam Page did not have his best stuff on the mound.
Nogales put runners on second and third in the first and loaded the bases in the second but did not score.
The Apaches finally broke through in the 3rd when pitcher Alec Acevedo led off with a single and courtesy runner Luis Rodriguez scored when Chuy Lopez scorched a line drive to the base of the wall in left for an RBI double.
In the 4th Nogales got a one out single from Ricky Maytorena, and Jorge Bojorquez barreled a triple to deep center fiel, scoring Maytorena to make it 2-0.
Acevedo followed with a grounder through the left side to plate Bojorquez and it was 3-0.
Horizon responded in the top of the 5th.
Christian Jacob singled to start the inning and Logan Kershner followed with a triple to right field to score Jacob to make it 3-1.
Nogales then went to the bullpen, bringing in New Mexico State commit Gerardo Martinez to face Huff, who promptly grounded a hard single to left to score Kershner to cut the lead to 2-1.
The Huskies would tie the score in the 6th when Nick Gore led off with a single and courtesy runner Rob Liddington would later tie the game on a Jacob fielder’s choice ground out.
Huff would take the mound in the bottom of the 6th and work the next 8 innings. He allowed 5 hits and punched out 7 on the night.
Neither team could break through for the next 8 frames, but in the top of the 15th inning Horizon got a one out single from Gore and sophomore Austin Corbett lined a ball into the left field corner for an RBI double to give the Huskies a 4-3 lead.
Nogales was not done, however. In the bottom of the 15th 3rd string catcher Adam Sinohui, who was in the game after starter Mario Duarte was ejected and backup Kevin Jimenez was injured, led off with a single.
After 2 quick outs and the Huskies on the verge of a dog pile, sophomore Brayan Espinoza lined a double to right center to tie the game at 4.
With Espinoza representing the winning run, Husky Coach Jeff Urlaub elected to walk Maytorena to set up a force play, and Sam Buchkowski got a 3 pitch punch out of Bojorquez to end the inning.
In the top of the 16th, with both teams running on fumes, Huff led off the inning with a hit by pitch and Tony Sortino grounded into a fielder’s choice.
Bobby Koch followed with a walk and when Buchkowski flew out to center there were 2 outs in the inning.
Gore would step in and ground a ball through the hole to right field for an RBI knock and it was 5-4.
Courtesy runner Brady Miltenberger, on for Gore, would score on a balk to make it 6-4, and Corbett would drop a parachute pop fly into short right field to add another insurance run and it was 7-4.
Buchkowski retired the side in order in the bottom of the 16th and the Huskies were hoisting the hardware.
The two teams combined for 31 hits in the game, which lasted over 5 1/2 hours.
Hamilton 8 Corona del Sol 1
Hamilton came out of the chute hot, plating 6 runs in the bottom of the first inning and cruising to an 8-1 win over Corona del Sol to take home the 6A state championship.
The Aztecs got on the board in the first when Hunter Haas reached on an infield error with 2 outs in the inning, Brian Kalmer singled and Kaiden Frees lined an RBI knock to left for a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning Will Maxey led off with a line single to center, and Dustin Bermudez walked.
Two batters later JD McLaughlin lined a single to right to plate Maxey and the score was tied.
After a walk to Tyler Wilson, Kyle Hasler lined a single to left, scoring Bermudez and McLaughlin and it was 3-1.
With 2 outs in the inning sophomore Brock Selvidge stepped to the plate and launched the first pitch he saw far over the Yakult Yogurt sign in left center onto the berm for a 3 run blast and a 6-1 lead.
For the second year in a row, the 6A title game was won by a freshman pitcher.
Last year it was O’Connor’s Barrett Skaugrud.
It was Hamilton frosh Logan Saloman’s turn this year.
Saloman was sensational, tossing a complete game and allowing 4 hits, shutting out the Aztecs after the first inning.
Selvidge would end the game 3-3 with the 3 run tank.
Maxey and Bermudez each had 2 hits and scored twice.
It was the 7th state championship for the Hamilton baseball program, and avenged the 2009 loss to Corona in the title game 10 years ago.