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TEMPE — Catalina Foothills’ quest for the program’s first-ever baseball state championship fell short Tuesday when the top-seeded Falcons fell to second-seeded Queen Creek Casteel 15-8 in the Class 5A title game at Tempe Diablo Stadium.The Colts had 19 hits en route to their banner victory over Catalina Foothills, which finished its season 27-3-1.“It’s great just being a part of this season,” Catalina Foothills coach Lance Robertson said. “I wasn’t here last year, so being a part ...
TEMPE — Catalina Foothills’ quest for the program’s first-ever baseball state championship fell short Tuesday when the top-seeded Falcons fell to second-seeded Queen Creek Casteel 15-8 in the Class 5A title game at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
The Colts had 19 hits en route to their banner victory over Catalina Foothills, which finished its season 27-3-1.
“It’s great just being a part of this season,” Catalina Foothills coach Lance Robertson said. “I wasn’t here last year, so being a part of this season, I just tried to get out of the way. I told them how much we love them and care about them.
“It’s a great season. Just one game short. That’s what it is.”
Catalina Foothills (27-3-1) senior ace Ethan Bell, who had a 1.86 ERA entering Tuesday, allowed seven runs on 14 hits and couldn’t hold an early Falcons lead.
“He threw well,” Robertson said. “Sometimes you just get those seeing-eye singles, things happen and there’s a mental mistake here and there. He threw great for us all year. You can’t take anything away from him. He was good today. Just ran out of gas in the end.”
The Falcons scored five runs in the second inning. Catalina Foothills catcher Kincaid Bergthold slapped a leadoff single into left field, then three straight walks scored the first run. Then a wild pitch, a walk and a hit-by-pitch, followed by a blooper into right by shortstop and future Grand Canyon Lope Troy Sanders, scored the final four runs of the inning. Casteel junior pitcher Mason Russell, who threw a no-hitter against Nogales in the semifinals, ended his start allowing five runs and four walks. He was replaced by Nick Dale.
“We knocked out probably the best pitcher in the state, in the first couple innings,” said Catalina Foothills standout sophomore Ganon Dwyer, who, like Russell, is committed to Arizona.
With Catalina Foothills leading 5-4 in the bottom of the third inning, Dwyer blasted a two-run home run — his fourth of the season — over the right field wall to extend the advantage to 7-4.
“It felt good,” Dwyer said. “Especially after that first at-bat when I got diced. Three straight strikes; I looked stupid. I got a pitch I could handle, and it was probably one of the hardest balls I hit. It felt good rounding those bases.”
The game turned in the fourth inning. Key hits included Kyler Anderson’s triple, UA commit Kade Thompson’s double and an RBI from another UA commit, Tyler Russell. The Colts scored eight runs in the inning to take a 12-7 lead. Bell was pulled after 3⅔ innings. The Colts had 15 hits at that point.
“We just couldn’t get out of it,” Robertson said. “Don’t take anything away from them, they were just pounding the ball that inning and finding some barrels. You let those type of great-hitting teams get a couple extra outs, they’re going to hurt you, and they got us pretty good.”
The title game was delayed just over an hour because of lightning in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Robertson thought the lighting delay “would’ve been a little bit of an advantage for us.” Once play resumed, Sanders’ deep hit to left field scored one run, but the Falcons never pulled within striking distance and Casteel tacked on three more runs after the weather delay.
“With the shock and awe of that eight-run inning, we thought, ‘OK, let our guys reset,’ because, gosh, you could feel we were a little flat,” Robertson said. “It just didn’t work out for us.”
Despite the loss, Dwyer said this year was “one of the best seasons in Foothills history.”
“I’m so happy to be a part of it as a sophomore, especially as a contributor tonight,” he said. “I hit the ball well, but there was nothing else we could’ve done.
“Casteel deserves it.”
The AIA tennis season wrapped up at Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale on Saturday with the boys' and girls' team championships in Division I, II and III, along with individual and doubles titles. Scottsdale Desert Mountain, Tucson Catalina Foothills and Phoenix Country Day all showed why they have been among the top programs in Arizona in recent years. Here's a rundown:Division I: Desert Mountain wins boys, girls championshipsThe Wolves took home both the boys' and girls' Division I team tennis championships Sat...
The AIA tennis season wrapped up at Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale on Saturday with the boys' and girls' team championships in Division I, II and III, along with individual and doubles titles. Scottsdale Desert Mountain, Tucson Catalina Foothills and Phoenix Country Day all showed why they have been among the top programs in Arizona in recent years. Here's a rundown:
The Wolves took home both the boys' and girls' Division I team tennis championships Saturday, with both teams clinching their titles after their singles flights were completed.
The No. 1 girls team swept their singles mathes against No. 3 Desert Vista 5-0. The team result was sealed in the battle of the No. 2s, when Desert Mountain sophomore Tessa Watchel won the final point against Desert Vista sophomore Natalie Visic, the Division I singles runner-up, to give Watchel her the second set victory 6-4 and the flight victory 2-0. That sealed Desert Mountain's third consecutive Division I championship. and third straight undefeated season.
“These girls have worked so hard,” said Wolves head coach Kim Dever. “They have just worked out hard in our tournaments and just brought it today. It was exciting to see every one of our courts fighting hard.”
The only team that managed to take a set off of Desert Mountain in the playoffs was No. 4 Hamilton in the semifinals, but the Wolves took care of them 5-2.
The Wolves' boys team was seeded No. 3, but won the boys team championship over No. 1 Brophy Prep, another Arizona high school tennis power. The Broncos entered the championship match having won seven of the last 10 Division I championships, their last title loss coming against Desert Mountain in 2021.
On Saturday, the championship came down to the battle of the No. 6 competitors, Desert Mountain senior Yuki Matsui versus Brophy junior Austin Kos, coming down to a tiebreaker. Matsui avenged his loss earlier in the season to Kos, 10-5, clinching Desert Mountain's second boys team tennis title in the past three seasons.
"I couldn't be prouder of these kids," said Desert Mountain boys head coach Jay Curtis. "I have three freshmen in this group doing this so it's even more impressive."
Catalina Foothills has been a dominant D-II program and showed again why Saturday, winning both the boys and girls championships again. The boys went into their match against No. 5 Flagstaff having won eight consecutive Division II championships. The girls went into their match against No. 2 AZ College Prep having won four straight.
The No. 1 girls conceded 10 sets combined in their first five singles matches Saturday, but sealed the title in the No. 4 matchup when senior Maria Aranguren swept AZ College Prep junior Yewon Kim 6-0 in their second set.
"I'm pretty proud of these girls," said Catalina Foothills head coach Daniel Root. "They had to live up to a stellar team that preceded them, and they just did a magnificent job."
The boys' team would soon follow suit, sweeping No. 5 Flagstaff in their singles flights 5-0 against giving No. 2 Catalina Foothills their ninth straight boys Division II title, which is now a state record.
"It's a legacy," said Catalina Foothills head coach Jeffry Bloomberg. "Go back 10 years ago when we started this run, and these kids fed into that, they know what the deal is and they know what the record is, and they just wanted to keep it going." The title is Bloomberg's seventh as the head coach.
In a faceoff of the No. 5 players, Catalina Foothills senior Suraj Shah defeated Flagstaff freshman August Fahy 7-5 in their second set, giving Shah the match victory and sealing the championship.
Last season, Phoenix Country Day took home both boys and girls team tennis trophies. To try and do it again in consecutive seasons is easier said than done, but that's what the Eagles did on Saturday, winning both the boys and girls team championships.
On the girls side, No. 5 Phoenix Country Day swept No. 3 Tucson Pusch Ridge 5-0 in the singles flights, making the Eagles back-to-back champions.
"We continue to strive for excellence," said Phoenix Country Day head coach Jerry Keever. "We work really hard to peak at the state tournament, and we had good competition and we persevered."
In the No 4 singles duel, Phoenix Country Day senior Elle Bartolino sealed the deal for the Eagles when she won her second set versus Pusch Ridge senior Madi Van Holsbeke 6-4. That gave Bartolino the match victory and the Eagles' fifth win of the singles flights.
After the girls played, the boys took the court. In the closest match of the day, No. 2 Phoenix Country Day was in a fight with No. 1 Thatcher.
After four singles flights, the score was knotted at 2-2. In the match of No. 3s, Phoenix Country Day sophomore Carter Kroeger won against Thatcher junior Blake Kartchner 10-8 in their third tiebreaker set to give the Eagles a 3-2 lead. In the final singles flight of the day and the closest match, Phoenix Country Day sophomore Linus Gino-Griffiths and Thatcher junior Gee Huish went back and forth in the third tiebreaker set, with no real separation from either player. It took 13 points, but Huish was able to even up the score once again in a marathon 13-11 victory in the third set, which meant for the first time all day, doubles would be played.
The two teams split two doubles matchups, with the No. 2 Phoenix Country Day team of Kroeger and senior Tyler Tam awith No. 3 Thatcher team of junior Brock Smith and senior Carter Bryce winning in their respective matchups. It came down to the No. 1 doubles flight. Thatcher had the early lead, having a 3-2 set lead. But the reigning Division III doubles champions of junior Jacques Sevrain and Gino-Griffiths went on a 5-1 run to give Phoenix Country Day their fifth point of the match and the much coveted three-peat.
"I felt fairly confident that we had two strong doubles teams," said Keever. "(The No. 1 team matchup) was close, it was very competitive, but they prevailed as doubles champions do."
Division I boys: Mountain Ridge junior Lincoln Baldonado def. Desert Mountain senior Trevor Rein (4-6, 6-4, 10-7)
Division I girls: Desert Vista senior Sydney Schnell def. Desert Vista sophomore Natalie Visic (3-6, 6-0, 11-9)
Division II boys: Raymond S. Kellis senior Adam Sun def. Catalina Foothills senior Jared Perry (6-2, 6-2)
Division II girls: Canyon View sophomore Zaria McGinty def. Ironwood sophomore Sasha Tijore (7-5, 6-1)
Division III boys: Rancho Solano Prep freshman Jaden Litt def. Scottsdale Prep senior Connor Swenson (6-3, 6-3)
Division III girls: Scottsdale Prep junior Nandini Patel def. Rancho Solano Prep junior Siona Vallabhaneni (6-4, 6-4).
Division I boys: Brophy junior Andre Johnson and senior Hadley Kukla def. Desert Mountain freshmen Jeronimo Ledesma and Daniel Yuke (6-3, 6-3)
Division I girls: Desert Mountain senior Julia Frazier and sophomore Tessa Watchel def. Xavier Prep juniors Danielle Dyer and Belani Soto (6-3, 7-6(3)) .
Division II boys: Catalina Foothills sophomore Jason Jia and junior Santiago Lietzau def. Paradise Valley junior Nimith Gurijala and senior Jason Latz (4-6, 6-3, 10-8)
Division II girls: Notre Dame Prep freshman Gracie Cranford and senior Kira Lehman def. Catalina Foothills junior Morgan Filer and senior Maria Aranguren (6-1, 6-4)
Division III boys: Phoenix Country Day sophomores Jacques Sevrain and Linus Gino-Griffiths def. Veritas Prep seniors Ian Townsend and Jack Victor (6-3, 3-6, 10-8)
Division III girls: Chandler Prep senior Gaby Chu and junior Sonali Bhalla def. Gilbert Christian seniors Isabella Branton and Margaret Rowan (6-3, 7-5).
Rainbow pride flags, hand-made pro-transgender rights posters, and blue shirts filled an emotional meeting room during the Catalina Foothills School Governing Board meeting on Tuesday night. The meeting, which reached max capacity about 30 minutes prior, was full of parents, students, and local residents who gathered in solidarity with trans students to voice their support for protecting trans students after attendees shared concerns over student privacy and bathroom rights at last week’s meeting.Paola Rodriguez/Arizona Public M...
Rainbow pride flags, hand-made pro-transgender rights posters, and blue shirts filled an emotional meeting room during the Catalina Foothills School Governing Board meeting on Tuesday night. The meeting, which reached max capacity about 30 minutes prior, was full of parents, students, and local residents who gathered in solidarity with trans students to voice their support for protecting trans students after attendees shared concerns over student privacy and bathroom rights at last week’s meeting.
Paola Rodriguez/Arizona Public Media
Last month, Fox News broke the news that Orange Grove Middle School Principal Mark Rubin-Toles emailed a confidential list of students with preferred names and pronouns to faculty and staff in 2021. Rubin-Toles wrote:
“If you are like me, you may have been challenged recently to keep some of our kids’ pronouns and preferred names straight–and to remember what can and can’t be shared with families…Please be very careful–students in red are NOT comfortable with us sharing this information with their parents/guardians. This can be cognitively challenging. It is our responsibility to protect student privacy in these matters.”
The Catalina Foothills School District responded in early March and said that the email was “inconsistent with our district practice.” A spokesperson for CFSD said that Principal Rubin-Toles was a thoughtful, talented, and compassionate administrator.
“Regardless, he has our support,” they said.
Paola Rodriguez/Arizona Public Media
Days after Fox News reported the email, The Daily Caller, another conservative media outlet, reported that the school district had an “unwritten policy” that allowed transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that affirmed their gender identity and separate facilities for students who were uncomfortable with the policy.
The article also said that former CFSD governing board candidate Bart Pemberton was made aware of the alleged unspoken policy after another parent told him. Pemberton lost during the November election last year.
Since the article’s publication, there has been a call for the district to review their non-discrimination policy that passed in 2015.
Paola Rodriguez/Arizona Public Media
At the April 4th board meeting, attendees shared concerns over policies regarding pronouns and bathroom access. Some said the district told female students that they may seek bathroom and locker room accommodations if they were uncomfortable. One parent said that they were concerned over the board’s refusal to have an open discussion on the topic and that the school district was actively implementing sex discrimination practices.
“Boys get an accommodation to feel safe and comfortable in a bathroom of the sex that they identify as, but girls aren't provided the same opportunity to feel safe and comfortable in the bathroom of their biological sex,” he said.
Another parent said that single-sex spaces were vital, on behalf of girls’ safety, fairness, and privacy.
“I hope that at least one or two of you sitting on the board will speak up and be vocal for your constituents who share my view and that you will at the very least fight to have it placed on the agenda for discussion,” the parent said during the April 4th meeting.
Discussion over the nondiscrimination policy was not added to the April 11th meeting.
Paola Rodriguez/Arizona Public Media
Many of the students, who attended the meeting this week, said they spoke with their peers and did not find problems regarding bathroom access, pronouns, or safety.
Catalina Foothills High School freshman Daniel Trujillo who identifies as a trans man has been an advocate for trans rights and has spoken out against anti-trans legislation at both the state and national capitol. He said that he’s never had to deal with the transphobia that other school districts in Arizona have experienced.
“School has been the one place where I’ve never needed to debate my personhood or justify why I’m deserving of equal access to public accommodations or an inclusive, equitable education,” Trujillo said.
Trujillo said that he was able to have a seamless transition in the classroom, where he received an outpour of support from counselors, classmates, and teachers.
That changed when he, along with others, called on the board to continue upholding federal non-discrimination laws.
“So all that stuff that's happening is finally hitting us,” Trujillo said.
To prepare for Tuesday night’s meeting, Trujillo said that students gathered together to plan what they were going to say and how to support trans students.
“School has always been a safe space for a lot of queer youth,” Trujillo said. “We shouldn't be trying to make school another space for students, who might not be affirmed at home, make it a space where they also aren't supported and valued at school.”
Trujillo called Tuesday night’s meeting heartwarming.
Paola Rodriguez/Arizona Public Media
The meeting also garnered the attention of Pima County Supervisor and district resident Rex Scott, who echoed many of the same concerns expressed by his constituents.
“Every child wants and deserves to feel connected to their school, to know that there are adults at their school who care for them, and to see that all children at their school are treated with equal dignity,” Scott said. “If we do anything less, we are harming these kids.”
The CFSD governing board did not comment on concerns that were shared this week or last.
Katya Mendoza contributed to this story.
Copy This Embed Code: Ad Editor's Note: Catalina Foothills School District contacted KGUN 9 to clarify that many of the speakers voicing concerns about the school's nondiscrimination policy are activists who have no affiliation with CFSD. While there were parents in attendance, the majority of the 42 speakers at the meeting Tuesday were from a church based out of Marana, with a second location in Tanque Verde. Additionally, we would like to clarify that Greg James, an attendee who is quoted in our reporting, is not the paren...
Copy This Embed Code:
Editor's Note: Catalina Foothills School District contacted KGUN 9 to clarify that many of the speakers voicing concerns about the school's nondiscrimination policy are activists who have no affiliation with CFSD. While there were parents in attendance, the majority of the 42 speakers at the meeting Tuesday were from a church based out of Marana, with a second location in Tanque Verde. Additionally, we would like to clarify that Greg James, an attendee who is quoted in our reporting, is not the parent of a student at CFSD.
Catalina Foothills School District board held their regular meeting Tuesday night, where parents packed into the board room as the debate over students' privacy rights continue.
This comes after an email from a middle school principal resurfaced from 2021 that showed a list of students and their preferred pronouns, and which students didn't want their parents to know.
One of the meeting attendees Gregg James said he came to the meeting tonight because of the board's refusal to put the topics of parents' rights, student privacy and transgender bathroom rights on the agenda.
"They didn't want to hear from any of us," he said. "I don't care if you agree or disagree with me — my voice deserves to be heard. It's about privacy, security, parental rights..."
The group Catalina Foothills School District Concerned Citizen urged parents to attend this meeting, in order to implore the school board to put items on the agenda. The CFSD Concerned Citizen's website states "all students have the equal right to parental nurturing regardless of their expressed desires or identity."
"They are not being held accountable," James said. "And by putting the item on, their being held accountable."
One of the students Alex Crampton at the meeting spoke at the podium during the call to the audience about each of the issues.
"I largely disagree with the parents that they should be entitled to their child's name and pronouns if they aren't going to be accepting," she said.
But some at the meeting like Teri Garrett, a staff member and mother, disagree.
"That's a big thing if you don't know that your child wants to change their name, their pronoun," she said. "I don't see why the school needs to be involved in a parental discussion."
The board room was filled with emotion as several people spoke at the podium for three minutes each.
"I think the emotion in there is that this has been going on for two years and the parents didn't know," Garrett said, as she spoke about transgender bathroom rights and parental privacy.
But Garrett hopes the community can move forward, starting with a discussion.
"But all views need to be heard, and Idon't think all views are being heard right now, including the children's views," she said.
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A seventh inning Chaparral wild pitch kept it from nearly completing a wild rally.That errant toss Monday scored a run that at the time seemed unimportant for Catalina Foothills, which took a 6-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh. But that insurance run kept Catalina Foothills alive and eliminated Chaparral, 6-5, from the 5A Conference baseball tournament.“They (Chaparral) are a great team,” Catalina Foothills coach Lance Robertson said. “They have nothing to hang their heads about. They fought until...
A seventh inning Chaparral wild pitch kept it from nearly completing a wild rally.
That errant toss Monday scored a run that at the time seemed unimportant for Catalina Foothills, which took a 6-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh. But that insurance run kept Catalina Foothills alive and eliminated Chaparral, 6-5, from the 5A Conference baseball tournament.
“They (Chaparral) are a great team,” Catalina Foothills coach Lance Robertson said. “They have nothing to hang their heads about. They fought until the end. We knew they were going to do that. Every run mattered at the end. It was such a great high school game.”
The same can be said about the first elimination game at Tempe Diablo Stadium Monday, when Nogales also advanced to Wednesday’s 5A semifinals after defeating Canyon View 5-4 in eight innings.
An error, three walks and hit-by-pitch by Catalina Foothills and RBI hits by Cody Estes and Chris Newstrom for Chaparral (22-9) in the bottom of the seventh increased the stress levels.
“It was a little nerve-wracking in the end,” Robertson said. “But we’ve had great pitching all year. And that’s what has kept us in games.”
With the bases full, Catalina Foothills reliever Ganon Dwyer induced a fly ball to left field to end the game.
Chaparral, trailing 6-5, had the bases full with 2 outs but flied out to end the game and send Catalina Foothills to the 5A semifinals: pic.twitter.com/DkWPqS6TbT— Jose E. Garcia (@AZPreps365Jose) May 9, 2023
Starter Ethan Bell allowed just one run and five hits in the first six innings before exiting during the seventh inning.
Home runs by cleanup hitter Anthony Diaz and Troy Sanders and an RBI triple by Matt Adams provided the power Catalina Foothills also needed to advance. On Wednesday at Hohokam Stadium, the 25-2-1 Tucson team will play Horizon, which defeated Catalina Foothills 8-4 on Thursday.
In the other 5A semifinal, Nogales and Casteel will square off at the same site. No. 2 Casteel run-ruled Nogales 10-0 on Thursday.
Nogales’ nucleus is new, but the winning never seems to graduate. One of Arizona’s power programs is two wins away from reaching the 5A final for the second consecutive year.
The 25-7 team eliminated up-and-coming Canyon View, 5-4, Monday after Luis Martin Romero’s RBI walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
Romero, Nogales’ starting pitcher, No. 2 hitter and one of a handful of Nogales’ left-handed hitters, went to the opposite field to drive in Jorge Amaya with the game-ending hit.
@ApacheBaseball1 survives and advances in 5A tourney. Luis Martin Romero, the starting pitcher, with the walk-off hit in the bottom of the 8th to give Nogales 5-4 win over Canyon View at Tempe Diablo: pic.twitter.com/hz7cgiF09V— Jose E. Garcia (@AZPreps365Jose) May 9, 2023
Canyon View’s six errors, three of which came in the third inning when Nogales went up 4-2, proved costly.
The final error allowed Amaya to advance to third base a batter before the game-winning hit by Romero. Amaya went 3-for-4 with three singles and an RBI.
Nogales used three pitchers, Romero (5 2/3 innings), Esteban Acevedo (faced three batters) and Salvador Valenzuela (1 2/3).
Tyler Vanmeter had two hits for Canyon View (17-13).