Team AZ Brings Home Sunbelt Hardware
Team Arizona made it a perfect 9-0 clean sweep in the Junior Sunbelt Classic, defeating Colorado 8-3 in last night’s championship game.
It was only the second time a team had gone undefeated in the event.
Things started off a bit rocky for AZ in the title game, with Colorado taking a first inning 1-0 lead on an infield error and a passed ball that scored the run.
Starting pitcher Cal Lambert (O’Connor) then settled down and punched out the next 3 hitters to escape the jam.
AZ tied it in the bottom of the 1st when Kai Murphy walked, Michael Brueser (Hamilton) singled and Sean Rimmer (Moountain View)drew another walk to load the bags. Noah Burgarello (O’Connor) followed with another free pass for the RBI to score the tying run.
Colorado regained the lead in the 2nd to take a 2-1 lead, but JD McLaughlin (Hamilton) led off the bottom of the 2nd with a solo bomb to tie it at 2.
AZ took the lead for good in the 3rd. Singles by TJ Clarkson (Mesquite) and Rimmer and a walk to Burgarello loaded the bases, and Kody Huff (Horizon) grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Clarkson for the 3-2 lead.
Rimmer would score on a passed ball and it was 4-2.
AZ blew it open in the 4th with 3 more runs.
Murphy led off with a double and scored on a Brueser single to make it 5-2.
After a walk to Clarkson put runners on 1st and 2nd, a double steal moved the runners up and Rimmer sent a sac fly to right field which plated Bruser for the 6-2 lead.
Burgarello followed with a squeeze bunt to score Clarkson to make it 7-2.
In the 6th Brueser led off with a single and Clarkson was hit by a pitch.
On a double steal Clarkson was thrown out at second but Brueser moved to third and then scored on a Rimmer sac fly.
Brueser ended the night 3-4 with an RBI and 2 runs scored.
Lambert tossed 2 2/3 to pick up the W, with Gerardo Hernandez (San Luis), Shane Murphy (Hamilton), Zach Martinez (Mountain Ridge) and Kai Murphy all providing relief help.
AZ had advanced to the tile game with wins over Mississippi and Georgia.
Against Mississippi AZ scored 3 runs in the 6th and 7th innings to take a 10-8 win.
Brueser was 2-4 with a pair of doubles and 2 RBIs.
Gerardo Hernandez earned the win in relief.
In the Georgia game Danny Sotelo (Corona del Sol) tossed 5 1/3 innings, scattering 6 hits and allowing a solo earned run as AZ took a 6-4 win.
TJ Clarkson tossed 1 2/3 innings for the save.
Carson Tucker (Mountain Pointe) was 2-4 with a pair of RBIs.
Kody Huff and Kai Murphy each had 2 hit games.
Clarkson was named the tournament MVP and Kai Murphy took home the Outstanding Pitcher award.
In addition, the following players were named to the All_ Tournament Team:
Eli Ankeney (Desert Vista)
The Junior Sunbelt Team is coached by Head Coach Scott Richardson (Tolleson), and Assistant Coaches Mike Woods (Hamilton) Matt Denny (Mountain Pointe) and David Lopez (Chandler).