Nogales tops Desert Mountain 5-1

Nogales tops Desert Mountain 5-1 in second round of state tournament
Posted on 05/05/2022
Nogales tops Desert Mountain

Via Nogales International

Sal Valenzuela threw six innings of one-run baseball to lead the Nogales Apaches past the defending champion Desert Mountain Wolves 5-1 in the second round of the 5A Conference state championship tournament on Monday.

Valenzuela, a sophomore lefty, scattered six hits while striking out five batters and walking one. Saul Soto came on in relief in the seventh inning and set down the Wolves 1-2-3 to seal the victory.

“At the beginning, I was really nervous. I thought about it – defending champs, team from Phoenix. But when I got to the mound, I blocked everything out and did what I can,” Valenzuela said afterward.

Playing at home at War Memorial Stadium, the No. 1-seeded Apaches started out a bit shakily when the first two Desert Mountain hitters reached on infield errors. But Valenzuela struck out the next two batters and retired the third on a grounder to end the threat.

The Wolves scored what turned out to be their only run of the game in the top of the second on a pair of singles, a wild pitch and a run-scoring groundout. The Apaches escaped further damage when first baseman Raenan Padilla made a leaping catch on a line drive headed for the right-field corner.

Giving up an early run wasn’t particularly worrisome for Valenzuela, he said.

“If they score any runs, I know that my team is there to help me with batting and defense, and I know I can count on them,” he said.

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