Three all-star teams from the Canyon del Oro Little League competed in their District 5 tournaments against teams from a dozen leagues across the Tucson region north of Speedway.
All three CDO squads – the 9-10-, 10-11- and 11-12-year-olds – won their district crowns, and have advanced to state tournaments this week.
"It's pretty dog-gone cool," said Clyde Turpin, president of the CDO Little League. "I don't know if it's something that's been done before. It's unusual, to say the least."
The 9-10s began state play Saturday in Queen Creek, bowing to Arrowhead 13-3. The 10-11s started Monday in Nogales, the 11-12s Monday in Peoria.
"It's a tremendous accomplishment for the league," Turpin said. "It certainly is for the players, and for the families involved."
The CDO Little League is roughly bounded by Shannon to the west, Orange Grove to the south, Campbell to the east and Naranja and Tangerine to the north. Through the senior division, there are about 35 teams, Turpin said.
CDO Little League "really is a community effort," Turpin said. Just one partner is Oro Valley Parks and Recreation, which maintains league fields. "They've been very, very supportive of our league, not just this year but over the years."
The 9-10 stars are managed by Colin Porter, assisted by John Ivanoff. Porter was part of a state championship team at CDO High School. He went on to play at the University of Arizona, and eventually for the Houston Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Leading the 10-11s are manager Ryan Call, with coaching by Brian Kahn. Call was an accomplished CDO volleyball player who coached in college. His Little League baseball coach was Gene Biernat, who is the District 5 administrator today.
Brett Ames manages the 11-12s, with Tom May the assistant. Ames was part of a state championship baseball team at Tucson High School who played at Pima College for Lynn Anderson, now the coach at 2009 state champion CDO.
Several players at CDO High School got their starts in the CDO Little League, as did three members of the Pusch Ridge Christian Academy team that won its own state title this year.
"The story runs deep," Turpin said. "It's just an incredible community, it really is. It's an incredible effort from a lot of folks to bring all this together."
Turpin is further pleased that many of the all-stars received recognition for academic excellence, too.
CDO Little League 2009 9-10 all-stars
Pablo Arana, Dawson Barry, Nate Benjamin, Cory Buechler, Adam Burnett, Jack Call, Alec Ivanoff, Turner Kahn, Jose Montano, Tyler Porter, Brennan Rainey, Brian Romero. Colin Porter, manager. John Ivanoff, coach.
CDO Little League 2009 10-11 all-stars.
Nick Call, Caiden Coates, Collin Davidson, Nick Estrella, Dominic Fletcher, Jason Fowler, Luke Haines, Jacob Hoyer, Carter Kahn, P.J. Pena, John Rickel, Noah Soto. Ryan Call, manager. Brian Kahn, coach.
CDO Little League 2009 Majors all-stars.
Nick Ames, T.J. Andricopoulos, Anthony Felix, Logan Fox, Austin France, Adam Hoyos, Jeremy Kane, Hayden May, Spencer Packard, Tristan Peterson, Max Smith. Brett Ames, manager. Tom May, coach.