Prep Baseball: Bulldogs ready to pounce on Crusaders
KINGMAN – This rubber match has never meant more for the Kingman High School baseball team.
The Bulldogs split the season series with Northwest Christian and now the two squads meet in the first round of the 3A State Championship.
No. 8 ranked Kingman squares off with the ninth-seeded Crusaders at 4 p.m. Friday at Surprise Sports Complex for the chance to battle the winner of No. 1 Valley Christian-No. 16 Catalina at 11 a.m. Saturday.
The Bulldogs dropped their first meeting with Northwest Christian on the road by a score of 8-3. Kingman bounced back from that setback a few days later at home with a 7-1 victory behind the arm of Rilee Araya.
The senior struck out 11 and allowed five hits and one walk in a complete-game effort.
The Bulldogs also provided plenty of run support, highlighted by a four-run sixth inning.
Coleton Padilla was the hero of that frame with his bases-clearing triple that scored three runs.
And the victory propelled Kingman to five straight region wins to clinch a 3A West Region title.
But all of that doesn’t matter Friday as the winner advances and the loser packs it up and goes home.
Academy vs. Yuma Catholic
The Tigers are also in action at 4 p.m. Friday against No. 5 seed Yuma Catholic at Surprise Sports Complex.
No. 12 seed Academy battled its way into the 3A State Championship with a 13-inning win over San Tan Foothills. While that was almost two games, the Tigers have had a few days of rest and should be ready to keep it rolling against the Shamrocks.
The all-time series is tied at 1-1, with Yuma Catholic winning 5-1 in 2015 and Academy squeaking out a 2-0 win in 2014. A lot has changed since then, as the two teams are no longer section foes.
With a win, the Tigers would advance to face the winner of No. 4 Sahuarita- No. 13 Odyssey Institute at 11 a.m. Saturday.