The Buena High baseball and softball teams have their work cut out for them following losses to Oro Valley Canyon del Oro Wednesday.
After managing a 2-1 lead after five innings, the baseball team lost 3-2; the softball team suffered a walkoff loss, 7-6.
It comes down to this: the baseball team, ranked 15th among Class 5A teams, can’t slip below No. 16 or it will not qualify for the state tournament. Wins against Douglas at home on Tuesday and at Tucson Pueblo/Magnet on Wednesday are vital to maintaining a spot at state.
The softball team, ranked No. 11, should have no problem qualifying for state. However, if the girls can move up to the eighth spot or better, they will host a first-round game on May 8. If they end the season ranked ninth or lower, they will open on the road. The Colts also play Douglas and Pueblo/Magnet this week.
“We are emphasizing one day at a time,” says coach Mike Tomooka. “Our first concern is Tuesday (against Douglas). Getting back into the top eight will be tough, but there is no need to worry.”
Against CDO, the Colts rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh to even the score at 6-6, but surrendered a run in the bottom of the inning to lose. Buena is now 11-3.
A tough loss, but the Colts look for positive aspects.
“I talked to the players yesterday and reminded them of the successes since pre-COVID, 10th grade.” Tomooka said.
“Junior year was shortened and this year was challenging, no preseason contact, conditioning, fundamentals.”
Tomooka continues to emphasize the big picture.
“We have really stressed the importance of school, especially virtually, and how important it is for them to be self-motivated,” he says.
“We will continue to work on fundamentals, team defense and offense. Each player must play with their best mental and physical potential at all times.
“They need to practice how they are going to play in a game so that situations in a game are ‘normal.’ ”
The baseball team’s nail-biter came down to the bottom of the sixth. Holding onto a 2-1 lead, a two-run homer by CDO’s Andrew Stucky gave the Dorados the lead and eventual win. The Colts are 10-5.
Buena fashioned a 2-1 lead after scoring two in the fifth. Max Pitts reached on an infield single and with one out, Josh Watt doubled to center, putting runners on second and third. Cezar Fernandez lined a double to left, scoring Pitts and Watt.
“I think playing a quality team (Canyon del Oro is ranked No. 1 in 4A) and playing well builds confidence and in the long run helps you,” Buena coach Mark Schaefer says. “I hope that is what happened (Wednesday). The kids played hard, they gave themselves a chance.
“I do believe we have to win the last two games to get into the playoffs. I have no idea how the power point system works; all we can do is win out and see what happens. We can control our outcome, but we have no control over the system. We can only control what we can control.”
Regardless, this season has been a little special.
“Like every year, we have ups and downs,” Schaefer says. “This year was very different with no preseason practice; the fact we were not sure we were even going to get to play.
“I think the big winners are the kids, they got a full season in. They represent our school and our community admirably. These kids did an outstanding job of protecting themselves and others during a very difficult time.”
Boys, girls track and field
The teams were in Tucson for a triangular meet against Tucson Magnet and Tucson Rincon/University.
The boys and girls each finished third but there were some nice individual efforts.
In the girls’ competition, Avery Wood and Marissa Hulling placed 1-2 in the discus. Wood registered 79-10 and Hulling hit 76-09. Emma Martin placed fifth in the 100-meter dash (15.88); Kalia Hart (1:11.7) and Hailey Dattage (1:17.1) placed 3-4 in the 400; and Sarah Roberts (6:26.22) and Haili Nix (6:41.98) went 3-4 in the 1,600.
The throwers again led the boys. Dominic Avant won the shot put (41-10) and discus (134-05) and William Stemler won the javelin (149-05) and was second in the shot (41-01.5).
Caleb Danielson placed first in the high jump (5-08); DaVante Mims (48.26) and Caleb Ke-A (49.20) were 1-2 in the 300 hurdles; Trevon Evans (57.02), Mason Carter (57.70), Spencer Carter (58.07) and David Olgilve (59.26) were 2-3-4-5 in the 400; Jaylen McCall (25.76) was fourth in the 200; and Ke-A took fifth in the 100 in 12.69.
Coach Roger Bristow left most of the boys distance runners home in preparation for the Southern Arizona Championships Saturday at Marana Mountain View.
Results were not available at press time.
“After Saturday, we may take some kids to the Marana Last Chance meet on Wednesday if they are close to qualifying,” Bristow said. “State javelin is Saturday, May 8, at Seton High School in Chandler. Will Stemler will compete.”
The rest of the state meet is May 13-15 at Gilbert Perry High School, and the Colts should be well represented.
The boys ended their season with 3-0 losses to Tucson schools Desert View, Flowing Wells and Sunnyside last week. Coach Anne Moody Conaway was pleased with the development of her inexperienced squad.
The Colts finished 2-12 but have a slate of competition to build on for next season.