The No. 1-seeded Nogales Apaches will host a first-round 5A Conference baseball tournament game this weekend as they seek their third-consecutive state championship.
Nogales (14-2 regular season, 22-4 overall) hosts a familiar foe in No. 16 Sunnyside of Tucson (9-9 regular season, 14-11 overall) starting at 11 a.m. Saturday at War Memorial Stadium. The teams have met twice already this season, with the Apaches winning 9-3 in Tucson on March 27 and 1-0 at home on April 15.
The winner of Saturday’s contest advances to play at 6:30 p.m. on Monday at Tempe Diablo Stadium. The loser is eliminated from the tournament.
Unlike the past two seasons when they won the state crown in the 4A Conference, NHS will try to take the title this year in 5A after the school was realigned into the larger-school conference last summer. And while they could potentially play as many as six more postseason games if they win Saturday and advance all the way to the state championship, all of those games would be played in the Phoenix metro area.
The Nogales offense is led by outfielder and leadoff man Ricky Maytorena, who is batting .468 with a .552 on-base average and .556 slugging percentage. Shortstop Jorge Bojorquez has a .403/.515/.558 batting/on-base/slugging slash line along with team highs in doubles (10), walks (17), runs (26) and stolen bases (14). Third baseman Jesus Lopez leads the team with three home runs and 22 RBIs.
The NHS pitching staff is anchored by Alec Acevedo (5-0, 1.35 ERA), Gerardo Martinez (4-1, 1.21 ERA), Matt Bachelier (4-1, 1.40 ERA, team-best 43 strikeouts), and German Fajardo (2-1, 3.16 ERA).