Salpointe Baseball Wins First 4A State Championship

From AZCentral.com:

Tucson Salpointe Catholic's baseball players picked up the 4A state championship trophy, then received gold medals that they hung over their necks for being the first team in the school's history to win a state baseball title.

It took a gritty effort by closer Cade McGee to work out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the seventh inning to hold off top-seed Gilbert Mesquite for a 4-3 victory Monday night before a loud and raucous crowd at Mesa's Hohokam Stadium.
It was the first time in four state final appearances that Salpointe won it.

"We're part of the hall of fame now, the first Salpointe baseball team to win a championship," senior shortstop Romeo Ballesteros said as he showed off his medal.

Ballesteros was incredible in the field, making a big throw from shortstop just in time to get the runner at first to end the second inning with a runner left on third.

An inning later, he hung on to catch a fly ball as he collided with the left fielder to end a bases-loaded threat. Ballesteros stayed on the ground for a while, before being helped up. He remained in the game.

"I'll put my life on the linefor these guys," Ballesteros said. "They'd do the same for me. That's what we practice. That's what we preach. And here we are now."

In the first inning, Salpointe lost standout center fielder Ian Ponce, when he collided with the right fielder to try to make a play on a ball that wound up a triple. Ponce had to come out and didn't return.

"He was one of our guys for four years," Ballesteros said. "For him to go down in the first inning, it's a heartbreaker. But we did this for him."
Salpointe got a great outing from left-hander Jaeden Swanberg, who left after Mesquite's first batter in the seventh reached, and Salpointe was holding onto a 4-1 lead. Swanberg gave up just five hits.

McGee came on and hit the first batter he faced. He walked the next to load the bases. He then got Davis Heller to hit into a fielder's choice that scored a run. Jayden Orozco's sacrifice fly cut it to 4-3.

McGee struck out Jacob Henderson to end it.

"I know they're going to play defense behind me, so that's never going to be a problem," McGee said.
 
Mesquite (27-6) got a great effort, as usual, from left-hander T.J. Clarkson, but his pitch count got up and he had to come out after 4 2/3 innings with Salpointe leading 2-1. Clarkson struck out 12.

A wild pitch by reliever Henderson gave second-seed Salpointe (26-6) a 3-1 lead. The Lancers tacked on another run in the top of the seventh on pinch-hitter Nomar Basurto's triple and Jose Cornejo's bloop single.

Cornejo gave Salpointe a 2-1 lead in the third on a two-out, two-run single.

"I'm speechless," coach Danny Preble said. "One of our leaders goes down in the first. Then we have another collision with our shortstop. But these kids don't quit."
 
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Salpointe Catholic High School

1545 E. Copper St.,
Tucson, AZ 85719
(520) 327-6581
Attendance: (520) 327-1990
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