T'Dale stars grab a crown - The Explorer: Sports

T'Dale stars grab a crown

9-, 10-year-old girls reach goal

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 11:00 pm | Updated: 1:35 pm, Mon Apr 18, 2011.

The back wall of Thornydale Little League's office holds memories of championships past.

"They hang the banners there," said Jeff Lovato, Thornydale's 9-10-year-old softball All-Stars coach.

It had been 15 years since space had to be made for a new banner, but on July 25, Lovato's team finished an undefeated 11-0 run with a 7-5 victory over Eloy in the title game of the state tournament.

"Thornydale hadn't won a state title since 1994, and a lot of (team members), especially the older girls, wanted to make a change and put a new number on that banner," said Lovato.

On the strength of a complete game by starting pitcher Alyssa Lovato, who allowed two hits, a "key" batting performance from Jazzy Hughes and three-run fourth inning fueled by big hits from Jessie Lujan and Kaylani Felix, Thornydale accomplished its goal.

"Since the beginning of the All-Star season, we said we wanted to take care of district, then take care of state," said Lovato. "It was the direction we focused on from day one."

That focus took Thornydale through some close games on its way to Mesa and the title game, including a 16-15 shootout against San Tan in the second round.

Watching his team overcome more that a few trials is something special Lovato will remember.

"One of the most memorable things is that during a couple games we were down and continued to fight and found a way to win," said Lovato. "This is a fantastic group of kids — they were focused and just kept moving."

The coach pointed to that type of determination and a "receptive mindset," as well as a tough group of pitchers including Hughes, Lovato, Jessica Giacoma and Ilena Santos.

"(The team) had a great run and finished it out strong, just the way they started it," said Lovato.

Next season could look very similar, he believes.

"It's a relatively young team," said Lovato. "Seven of our 12 are eligible to return; now they've got experience on both the district and state levels."

11- and 11/12 year-olds

It was not just the Thornydale softball youngsters making a splash at state in the past few weeks.

The 11-year-old district champion team finished second in Arizona, losing in the first round of the double elimination state tournament before making a run to the championship game, where they were stopped 15-0 by High Desert.

The mixed-age team of 11- and 12-year-old Thornydale All-Stars outscored opponents 112-8 in six games and notched four shutouts on their way to a district championship before losing in the state title game 2-1 to San Tan.

© 2014 The Explorer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about

More about

More about

Welcome to the discussion.

Kino College

Kino CollegeEnroll today: http://www.kinocollege.com/

HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)


Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions


MOS: Storms and Floods

We asked the community about the coming floods and storms.

MOS: Back To School

We asked the community about the new school semester starting.

More Featured Videos

Follow us on Facebook