Duncan baseball to battle Fort Thomas on Wednesday

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: The Wildkats head to an on-field team meeting following the sportsmanship ritual with Baboquivari on March 25. The visiting Warriors left Duncan with a run-ruled win. Duncan heads to Fort Thomas on March 30 and welcomes Patagonia on March 31 and Kearny Ray on April 2.

Lobos visit Greenlee County on Thursday, Bearcats on Saturday

By Raymundo Frasquillo

DUNCAN – During the previous 15 years (2007-21), the Duncan Wildkats have qualified for the 1A state meet eight times, advanced to the semifinals once (2007), the quarterfinals thrice (2009-11), and bowed out in the first round four times (2008, 2014-15, 2021) while posting a combined 5-8 post-season mark. Nine of those seasons included a field of 16 teams and five of 24 teams. The 2020 season was canceled.

Duncan is 16 years removed from a 3-year run of being a state finalist in the midst of 8-team fields, finishing twice as state champions (2004, 2005) and once as state runners-up (2006) with a combined 8-1 post-season record.

The Brett Jensen-coached baseball team has nine regular-season games, which include six region games, plus those in a 3-day tourney left to attain a .500 record and qualify for the post-season. The top 16 teams will be involved.

Coming out of the weekend, the 1A South Region standings have Saint David (13-1 overall, 1-0 region) first, Tucson Desert Christian (5-3, 0-0) second, Elfrida Valley Union (3-3, 0-0) third, Sells Baboquivari (1-5-1, 0-0) fourth, Patagonia (1-4, 0-1) fifth, Duncan (2-5, 0-0) sixth, and Fort Thomas (0-4, 0-0) seventh.

Initial statewide rankings have Saint David No. 2 (8-1 seeding, 0.9838 rating) of 27 teams, Desert Christian No. 5 (5-1, 4.9702), Valley Union No. 9 (2-1, 3.0327), Baboquivari No. 13 (1-2, 0.1515), Duncan No. 16 (1-4, minus 2.5514), Patagonia No. 21 (1-4, minus 5.6903), and Fort Thomas No. 23 (0-4, minus 10.7464).

The Wildkats head to Fort Thomas on Wednesday, March 30, and welcome Patagonia Thursday, March 31, and No. 20 Kearny Ray (2-3, minus 5.0576) Saturday, April 2.

Games for other region members this week include Saint David at Valley Union and Desert Christian at Patagonia on March 29; Saint David at Desert Christian, Bisbee at Valley Union, and Baboquivari at Fort Thomas on March 31; and Desert Christian at Tucson Saint Augustine Catholic and Tombstone at Valley Union on Friday, April 1

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Diego Montoya reaches second base during his fifth-inning plate appearance. The Duncan junior was one of two Wildkats batting .500 (1-2) against Baboquivari.

Duncan played a couple of games last week, with Valley Union on March 22 and with Baboquivari, falling by four runs (0-4) on March 22 and by 10 (0-10) in an abbreviated contest on March 25, respectively, coming back from its Spring Break.

The Wildkats have wins of 6-3 over Phoenix Madison Prep (March 8) and 10-1 over Fredonia (March 10). The other losses have been 14-20 and 4-19 in five innings to Heber Mogollon (March 4), and 0-4 to Joseph City (March 12).

Fort Thomas has losses of 0-14 in five innings to Desert Christian (March 2), 0-20 in five innings to Superior (March 8), 5-10 to Patagonia (March 10), and 1-22 in five innings to Saint David (March 22).

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Sean Webb lets a high pitch go by during a plate appearance against Baboquivari. The Duncan sophomore grounded out twice.

Patagonia downed Fort Thomas and has losses of 0-22 in five innings to Tombstone (March 7), 0-13 in five innings to Valley Union (March 21), 0-21 in five innings to Saint David (March 23), and 3-8 to Tucson San Miguel Catholic (March 28).

Ray has six wins, 4-3 in five innings over Coolidge (March 2), 10-2 in four innings over Eloy Santa Cruz (March 4), 8-6 in four innings over Morenci (March 5), 6-3 in five innings over Whiteriver Alchesay (March 11), 12-7 in eight innings over Globe (March 22), and 18-2 over San Manuel (March 25). Seven losses have been 2-9 to Queen Creek San Tan Foothills (Feb. 24), 3-10 in five innings to Eagar Round Valley (March 3), 3-18 in three innings to Thatcher (March 5), 1-10 to Morenci (March 9), 6-11 in four innings to Wickenburg (March 12), 11-13 in four innings to Willcox (March 12), 4-10 to Superior (March 23),

The East Region Bearcats also meet Bisbee in Warren Ball Park on March 30 and Lincoln Prep in Chandler on March 31 before facing Duncan.

Duncan has a 17-member roster consisting of senior Conlan Jensen; juniors Benjamin Harris, Gary Najar, Emiliano Ortega, and Brody Waters; sophomores Adriano Burrola, Preston Clark, Diego Montoya, Rowdy Patton, Brandon Price, Sean Webb, and Richard Workman; and freshmen Cash Crotts, Levi Donaldson, Nathan Durham, Isaac Harris, and Tim Lunt.

Baboquivari – 10, Duncan – 0

Ten visitors stepped to the plate during their initial at-bat, and 7 runs were scored. The Warriors singled on once, were walked four times, and beaned once plus reached base on four errors before three outs were recorded. Baboquivari added three runs in the fourth, reaching base on a single, a walk, and three errors before a fly-out and two strikeouts retired the side.

A one-out single and walk had a double play end the second; an error and walk allowed two runners on in the third with a flyout, but double play and strikeout took care of the third, and a one-out single had a double play neutralize the fifth.

The Wildkats singled on with two outs in the first, but, a strikeout stranded him; a no outs walk was followed by successive outs in the second; the third and fourth had three up and three down, and a one out runner had a strikeout and ground out leaving him on in the fifth.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Brody Waters delivers a pitch to Baboquivari. The Duncan junior mound starter allowed two hits, struck out two, walked one, and beaned one while facing 15 batters during 2 1/3 innings.

Duncan batted .125 (2-16), left three runners on base, and committed eight errors compared to .125 (3-24), six stranded runners, and no errors for Baboquivari.

Diego Montoya and Brody Waters each batted .500 (1-2).

On the mound, starter Waters allowed two hits, struck out two, walked one, and beaned one while facing 15 batters during 2 1/3 innings. Reliever Montoya yielded two hits, struck out one, and walked five while facing 16 batters during 2 2/3 innings.

For the Warriors, junior Jesus Buendia  (2-4) and freshman Jesse Buendia (1-2) batted .500.

On the mound, starter Jace Mitchell allowed no hits, struck out 18, and walked three while facing 23 batters during 6 2/3 innings. Senior reliever J.J. Valenzuela yielded no hits and struck out the batter faced during 1/3 inning.

Valley Union – 4, Duncan – 0

The Wildkats went three up and three down through the first five innings, recording 14 strikeouts. The sixth inning had two walked runners with a strike one before an additional two strikeouts ended the threat. The seventh inning had a ground out, a strikeout, and a walked runner before another strikeout ended the game.

Valley Union scored twice during its initial plate appearance and twice more during the third inning. The leadoff batter bunted on, a second batter was walked, and the third batter singled in a run. A force at second was followed by an infield error, scoring a second run, and a double-play ground out. A bases-loaded strikeout was followed by an infield error allowing two runs to score. A walk reloaded the bases, but a strikeout and ground out diffused the threat.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Jesus Buendia returns to first base safely as the ball arrived late. The Baboquivari junior scored twice in the abbreviated game. The Warriors scored seven runs in the first inning, three in the fourth, and held the Wildkats scoreless to conclude the game in five innings.

Two strikeouts, a beaned batter, and another strikeout resulted in the second inning, it was three up and three down twice during the fourth and sixth innings, and the fifth had the bases loaded with one out, but a flyout and strikeout ended the threat.

Duncan batted 0-21, left three runners on base, and committed four errors compared to .150 (3-20), seven stranded runners, and one error for Valley Union.

On the mound, starter Isaac Harris allowed two hits, struck out four, walked two, and beaned two while facing 13 batters during 2 1/3 innings. Reliever Benjamin Harris yielded no hits, struck out five, walked two, and beaned one while facing 16 batters during 3 2/3 innings.

For the Blue Devils, freshman Dylan Mitchell batted .667 (2-3) and senior Jace Mitchell batted .500 (1-2)

On the mound, starter Jace Mitchell allowed no hits, struck out 18, and walked three while facing 23 batters during 6 2/3 innings. Senior reliever J.J. Valenzuela yielded no hits and struck out the batter faced during 1/3 inning.

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