DOUGLAS — Despite winning their last six games and being Gila Region champions the Douglas Bulldogs found themselves out of the 4A baseball playoffs this year.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association released its final baseball rankings Thursday morning and the Bulldogs found themselves ranked 18th, two spots back of the 16th and final spot for the state tournament.

Sahuarita, Walden Grove and Rio Rico, which tied with Douglas with identical region records, also were left out of the state playoff picture after finishing 19th, 21st and 22nd respectively in the final 4A baseball rankings.

AIA365.com is listing Douglas as region champs based on the higher ranking of the four teams.

Fabian Ochoa, Douglas’ interim baseball coach, said winning the region championship but missing out on state playoffs was a heartbreaker.

“In a non-COVID season, region champs automatically get a bid to the playoffs, making this even more heartbreaking,” he said. “This team went on a six-game winning streak, going from a ranking of 36 to a ranking of 18 in a matter of two weeks.

“When it comes to getting the interim coaching position, I want to say thank you for the opportunity and experience. This wouldn’t be possible without our administration. Coaching this team has been such an amazing experience and something that I will never forget. Having a team that is this talented has made our job as coaches that much easier. No number or ranking can take away what this team has accomplished. I am so proud of this team and I hope they know how proud Douglas is of them.”

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