July 19, 2006 - Arizona District 5 Little League wrapped up its All-Star baseball and softball tournaments on July 15 and if this year's champions are any indication, the future of baseball in the area is bright.
Six of the nine All-Star champion teams hail from the Northwest-including teams from Canyon Del Oro, Coronado, Marana and Thornydale Little Leagues. A team from the Northwest represented District 5 in every championship game.
"It's a testament to the baseball that's being played up in Oro Valley right now," said Gregg Carroll, coach of the Coronado Majors, a team comprised mostly of 12-year-olds. "There's a lot of good programs in place; the pipeline for CDO and Ironwood Ridge high schools is pretty full to put some teams together that will represent our area for a very long time."
Carroll's team fell in the championship game to CDO, 12-1, but not before advancing farther than any other Coronado Majors team. Coronado finished the tournament 5-1. CDO advances to the Arizona Little League State tournament, which will begin July 19 in Kingman.
Should CDO win the state tournament, it will advance to the western regionals where it will compete for a shot to play in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.
Coronado will send two teams to the state tournament, however. The Coronado Juniors and the 10-11 year-old team will join CDO's Majors in representing the Northwest in baseball.
The CDO and Coronado 10-11 year old teams played arguably the most exciting game of the District 5 baseball tournament July 13 at Arthur Pack Park on the final day of pool play.
After falling down 3-0 early, CDO stormed back to take a 6-3 lead heading into the final inning. Coronado rallied in its finals at-bat to tie the game at 6. Not to be outdone in the bottom half of the inning, CDO starting pitcher Danilo Castro lined the first pitch he saw into left field for a single to score Leo Khawam with the winning run, 7-6.
Coronado got its revenge two days later by knocking off CDO in the championship game by a score of 6-2 at Murrieta Park.