Oro Valley Ironwood Ridge entered Saturday as one of the best offensive baseball teams in Division II with a .388 average. You can’t give a team like that free bases.
That’s exactly what Nogales did, falling 13-3 in five innings in a fourth-round Division II state playoff game Saturday at Camelback Ranch.
No. 6 Ironwood Ridge (26-5) will play the winner of No. 1 Chandler Seton Catholic and No. 5 Phoenix Sunnyslope in the winner’s bracket final at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Camelback Ranch, while No. 10 Nogales (22-9) will face No. 4 Tucson Sahuaro in a loser-out game in the same place at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Nogales walked five Ironwood Ridge batters and hit three more, and also committed two errors. Ironwood Ridge did most of its damage in the first and fourth innings, when it scored nine runs on just three combined hits.
“They only got two more hits than we did the whole game, yet they had 10 more runs,” Nogales coach Oscar Favela Jr. said. “Yeah, it was a tough strike zone here and there, but we’ve got to throw strikes and not hit people and let them get on base.”
Ironwood Ridge led 11-3 entering the bottom of the fifth, but senior Devin Harrison ended the game with a two-run homer to left field, over the 380-foot sign.
Harrison said the batter hitting behind him, Frankie Ortiz, suggested he go yard.
“When I was walking up, I was thinking just get on base, but then (Frankie) told me to just hit a home run,” Harrison said. “So it was in my head, and it just happened.”
Harrison finished 2 for 3 with five RBIs and a run scored.
Nogales had a chance to make it a game in the top of the fourth, when it scored two runs to cut the lead to 5-3. But a base-running mishap prematurely ended the inning.
With runners on first and second and two outs, David Oropeza hit a bloop single to shallow left. J.P. Rodriguez steamed around third and looked toward home, but was held up by Favela.
Rodriguez slipped trying to get back to the bag, and was tagged out by third baseman Trey Stine.