It took seven trips back and forth to Douglas during an eight-day stretch, but the Nogales 8-10 Little League All-Stars finally captured the Arizona District 8 tournament title last Wednesday, defeating the host team 7-5.
The win was the second in two nights against Douglas – Nogales won 10-4 on Tuesday, July 2 to force the deciding title game – and it avenged an earlier second-round loss to the hosts that knocked Nogales into the loser’s bracket.
“It was really tough to come back. Once you fall into the loser’s bracket, it’s really tough to get back,” said coach Trini Lopez. “But we won them all to get to the championship.”
In the final game, Nogales took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first before Douglas tied it in the top of the third.
In the bottom of the third, Nogales loaded the bases with no out, then saw all three baserunners score on a passed ball and throwing error.
They added another run to go up 5-1, but Douglas responded with four runs in the top of the fourth to tie the game at 5.
Nogales came right back in the bottom half of the fourth to score the final two runs of the game.
Diego Peral pitched into the sixth inning before giving way to Marco Serrano, who came on to strike out the final two batters and seal the victory.
“They all came through. They did what they had to do when it mattered,” Lopez said of his players. “They batted pretty good, and played very good defense.”
The Nogales All-Stars will now compete in the state tournament in Tempe starting July 12.