Tempe Marcos de Niza entered the 5A Division II baseball tournament feeling like party crashers, but the 12th-seeded Padres will join Scottsdale Desert Mountain as guests of honor in Saturday’s championship after handling Glendale Deer Valley 9-3 on Thursday at Maryvale Baseball Park.
Shaun Deisler blasted a two-run homer in the first, then Alex Moreno doubled in a pair in the third as the Padres (16-17) took control. Junior Jacob Morales turned in another strong performance, scattering eight hits and three runs for a complete-game win, his second of the tournament.
“Jacob has really turned it around in the postseason,” coach Felipe Becerra said. “Pitching today’s game, coming in and throwing a complete game, really showed his character. He pitched like a man today.”
Morales said he knew his Padres could have this kind of tournament.
“We came in with big heads,” he admitted. “We knew we had a lot of talent on this team.”
Deisler said that he guessed a first-pitch curveball on his homer.
“I didn’t know it would get this intense,” he said. “I’m so out of breath.”
The Padres couldn’t breathe easily until the final out, as the Skyhawks (19-13) had base runners in every inning.
They tied the game in the bottom of the second on Chase Johnson’s two-run single. Kyle Brule, who will start the championship game, singled in Billy Place with the go-ahead run in the third.
Moreno followed with a big at-bat, first blasting a long foul ball of the fence, then reaching the warning track with a two-run double.
The Padres added insurance runs in both the fourth and fifth; Brule and Doug Shover with sacrifice flies and Kasey Boyles and Michael Kenneth with RBI singles.
Morales only walked one and hit a batter.
He picked up his third strikeout for the final out of the game.