The Nogales National Little League All-Stars are headed for the Majors Division state tournament after beating Douglas 10-4 in the District 8 title game on Friday night.
It was the third time the teams met in the double-elimination district playoffs in Douglas, with Nogales winning 4-3 in extra innings in the early rounds, and Douglas coming back to beat them 9-0 on Thursday to force a winner-take-all final.
Following a scoreless first two innings of play on Friday, Nogales’ starting pitcher Andres Lopez hit a two-run homer in the top of the third to give his team a 2-0 lead.
Douglas came back and tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom half of the inning when Chris Escarcega smacked a two-run blast out of the ballpark. Douglas added another run before the inning ended, taking a 3-2 lead.
Nogales tied the game in the top of the fourth, only to see Douglas reclaim the lead at 4-3 in the bottom half of the inning.
Lopez tied the game again at 4-4 in the top of the fifth when he hit a solo home run.
Four batters later, Marco Serrano hit a two-run homer to put Nogales up 6-4.
With Douglas using its third pitcher of the game, Nogales tacked on four more runs in the top of the sixth, two of which came on another two-run bomb from Serrano, to bring the score to 10-4.
The Nogales All-Stars will next compete at the state tournament in Tempe, set to begin July 16.
Little League Majors Division is for youth ages 10-12. It’s the only division that will hold a World Series tournament this summer following state-level playoffs.
Here’s how other NNLL teams have fared in the District 8 baseball playoffs:
Minors (ages 8-10)
The Nogales National Little League All-Stars in the age 8-10 Minors Division made it to a winner-take-all final game in the District 8 playoffs in Sierra Vista, before dropping a 14-13 heartbreaker to the host team on Thursday night.
The Nogalians fell to Sierra Vista in the opening round of the tournament, but emerged from the consolation bracket to beat SV 9-6 and force Thursday’s deciding game.
Nogales and Sierra Vista were the only leagues in District 8 to send teams to the playoffs in the age 9-to-11 bracket, and the two all-star squads faced off July 6 and 7 in Nogales. SV advanced to the state tournament by winning both contests, 17-2 and 9-6.
Senior League (ages 13-16)
The Nogales All-Stars got off to a good start in the two-team District 8 playoffs, beating host Sierra Vista 10-4 in the first round. But SV came back to win two games on July 7 and take the district crown.
Junior League (ages 12-14)
The Junior League District 8 playoffs are set to begin July 13 at War Memorial Stadium in Nogales. Nogales and Sierra Vista will face off in a best-of-three series to see who will represent the district at the state tournament, also to be played in Nogales starting July 23.
Five teams from around Arizona are set to compete in the state 50/70 Intermediate Division tournament beginning July 16 in Nogales at Fleischer Park.
The pool includes an all-star team from Nogales, which qualified automatically as the only contender in District 8.
This division offers players ages 11-13 the chance to play on a field with dimensions between those of a Little League field (46-foot pitching distance, 60-foot basepaths) and a standard baseball field (60-foot, 6-inch pitching distance, 90-foot basepaths).