Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Head coach Christopher Aguallo re-lined the field before leaving for the night. The 43rd Morenci Lions baseball tourney continues on Friday, April 21 beginning with Duncan versus Mogollon at 8:30 a.m.
Hayden, Safford, Florence, and Morenci advance to the semifinals
By Raymundo Frasquillo
MORENCI – Winkelman Hayden, Safford, Florence, and Morenci advanced to the semifinal round of the 43rd Morenci Lions baseball tourney on Friday. All games will be played in Francis Waldorf Stadium.
The 3A Pinal County Florence Gophers (16-7 overall) meet the 3A Graham County Safford Bulldogs (12-8-1) at 4 p.m. and the 1A Gila County Winkelman Hayden Lobos (19-3) face the 2A Greenlee County Morenci Wildcats (10-10-1) at 6:30 p.m.
Time-limited game advancements were made as Florence defeated Heber Mogollon 11-3, Safford defeated Saint Johns 17-2, Hayden defeated Thatcher 12-5, and Morenci defeated Pima 13-5. Pima defeated Duncan 11-3 during the meet opener.
Consolation round participants, Duncan, Thatcher, Saint Johns, Heber Mogollon, and Pima meet earlier. The Greenlee County Duncan Wildkats (9-11) face the Navajo County Mogollon Mustangs (7-10) at 8:30 a.m., the Graham County Pima Roughriders (12-9) face the Apache County Saint Johns Redskins (7-12-1) at 11:30 a.m., and the Graham County Thatcher Eagles (10-12) face the Duncan – Mogollon winner at 1:30 p.m.
Top-ranked 1A Hayden (13-2 seeding) is 9-0 for first of seven in the East Region, 1A No. 9 Mogollon (6-6) 4-5 for fourth of seven in the East Region, 1A No. 16 Duncan (8-8) 6-4 for third of eight in the South Region, 2A No. 7 Pima (9-6) 6-5 for fourth of seven in the East Region, 2A No. 11 Morenci (9-7) 5-6 for fifth of seven in the East Region, 2A No. 25 Saint Johns (7-9) 5-1 for second of seven in the North Region, 3A No. 11 Florence (11-5) 3-4 for fifth of nine in the South Central Region, 3A No. 21 Safford (7-8) 3-4 for fifth of eight in the South Region, and 3A No. 22 Thatcher (8-9) 3-4 for sixth of eight in the South Region.
In 2022, 20-time participant and 3-time state champion Mogollon went 4-0 to end as a state champion; 21-time participant and 9-time state champion Hayden went 2-1 to end as a semifinalist; 43-time participant and 2-time state champion Morenci went 1-1 to end as a quarterfinalist; 42-time participant Thatcher went 1-1 to end as a quarterfinalist; 36-time participant and 1-time state champion Pima fell in the play-in round; 21-time participant and 2-time state champion Saint Johns fell in the play-in round; 2-time participant and 4-time state champion Florence was bumped out by No. 25 and North Region champion Page; 6-time participant and 4-time state champion Safford was bumped out by No. 29 and North Region runner-up Fort Defiance Window Rock; and 33-time participant and 2-time state champion Duncan did not qualify.
The nine teams have a combined 110-102 record in the state tourney during the past 20 years (2003-2022).