Spring training under way in Tucson - The Explorer: Sports

Spring training under way in Tucson

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Posted: Saturday, March 24, 2012 4:00 am | Updated: 5:16 pm, Wed Mar 28, 2012.

The Milwaukee Brewers and Seattle Mariners met at the Kino Sports Complex on March 16, marking the first of  three spring training games to be played at the stadium this year. On Friday, March 23, the Chicago White Sox will square off against the Los Angeles Dodgers, with the proceeds of the game going toward the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation.

Nine-year-old Green was killed during former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ Congress on Your Corner event at a local Safeway on Jan. 8, 2011.

“It’s good to know my money will be going toward a good cause,” said Gerald Conroy, one of about 6,000 fans to make the trip to the stadium. “It’s a terrible thing that happened, but it’s the good deeds like this that make Tucson such a great place to live.”

Conroy and his wife, Karen, brought their two young children, Lindsey and Tyler, to spring training for the first time last year. The family enjoyed the outing so much they decided to return this year, and will be attending the game on the March 23 as well.

“It’s a good little getaway,” Karen said. “The kids get a little rowdy when they’re cooped up in the house for too long, so we try to get them out for things like this. They really seem to enjoy it, even though their favorite team is the Diamondbacks.”

The Diamondbacks, who previously trained at the Kino Sports Complex with the Chicago White Sox, have since resumed training in Phoenix.

“I think there’s enough to do here to where the team doesn’t matter so much,” Karen said.

Indeed, the stadium features all the necessities to keep both adults and children entertained.

Popular with children was a Zero Gravity bungee devise, allowing kids to flip in the air with bungee supports and an inflated mat beneath them.

In addition to the ball game, a good lunch can be enjoyed, as hamburgers and hot dogs are continuously grilled, and in the spirit of baseball, peanuts, popcorn, sunflower seeds and refreshments are readily available.

Mariners fans Raul Espinosa and his wife Isabel drove from Phoenix to make the game.

“We’re ridiculously big fans of the Mariners,” said Raul, who grew up in Seattle. “There was no way we were missing this game. Weather’s too nice, and my team was too close not to come.”

Much to the pleasure of the Espinosas, Seattle won the game 6-1, taking a 3-0 lead in the top of the third, aided by a two-run homerun by Alex Liddi.

The Mariners would finish as strongly as they started, only allowing one run from the Brewers’ Caleb Gindl in the fourth inning. Mariners’ pitcher Felix Hernandez was spot-on with his pitching, striking out six batters in the game. The Brewers, who were playing a split-squad game against the Kansas City Royals in Surprise, played the Mariners without any of their regular position players.

“It’s good to have spring training stay in Tucson,” said Henry Moore, a retired Tucson resident. “I’m a big baseball fan, and keeping it local is a big convenience. We’re pretty lucky to have such a nice field here to accommodate these teams.”

Tickets for spring training games can be purchased on ticketreturn.com.

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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


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