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SLLJuniorsD-10champs-Chino2_04.jpgOn a hot and muggy afternoon, the Sedona all-stars baseball team [ages 13-14] took care of business in semifinals action by beating the Camp Verde all-stars on Monday, July 9, at Cottonwood Middle School.
 By Brian Bergner Jr.
Larson Newspapers

On a hot and muggy afternoon, the Sedona all-stars baseball team [ages 13-14] took care of business in semifinals action by beating the Camp Verde all-stars on Monday, July 9, at Cottonwood Middle School.

The win advances Sedona to the championship game against the Chino Valley all-stars.

“We are in the position that we wanted to be in, and that’s to win it all,” Sedona Manager Rob Henry said.

Sedona would bat first and jump on top early when Regan Cavanaugh walked and stole a base, then Kyl Chartier knocked him in with a single.

“I saw an opportunity and I took it,” Chartier said.

Starting pitcher Blake Barker would take the ball for Sedona, looking to shut down the Camp Verde offense.

Camp Verde challenged him right away, putting the lead-off man on.

A slick fielding play by Sedona third baseman Arley Leyva nailed the second batter out, then first baseman Ari Aranda returned the throw to nail the lead-off runner from taking the extra base.

Double play. Both players pumped their fists in excitement.

The momentum created by the defense carried into the top of the second inning where Sedona put up three more runs on the scoreboard.

With two runners on and nobody out, Barker hit a double to the right field gap, and it rolled all the way to the fence.

The double scored J.R. Henry and Andrew Rippy.

Camp Verde would gain some confidence back by putting up two runs in the bottom of the third.

But it was short lived as Sedona put up five more runs to go up 9-3 in the top of the fourth inning.

“That was a big inning for us,” Rob Henry said.

The big hit came from the hot bat of Ryan Lillie, as he cleared the bases with a three-run double.

In the bottom of the fourth, Barker was relieved of his pitching duties, going 3 1/3 innings, giving up only three hits and one walk while striking out three batters.

Two of the three runs he gave up were unearned.

With runners on second and third and only one out, J.R. Henry entered the game in relief.

He promptly got two outs, ending the Camp Verde threat.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Tyler Hollmann entered the game with his team leading, 9-4.

Dark storm clouds with bolts of lightning hitting the ground had slowly moved into the area.

After a big gust of wind, and two pitches into the inning, the game was suspended for safety reasons.

“Safety is first in Little League. I don’t want anyone getting hurt,” District 10 representative Coco Minner said.

Play resumed after a 55-minute delay, and Camp Verde decided to make it interesting.

They would tack on three runs, leaving Sedona clinging to a 9-7 lead.

“They gave us a chance to warm up, but when you take the boys out of the game for a period of time, it’s difficult to get back in,” Rob Henry said.

Sedona got back in it just in time and put up four runs in the top of the seventh inning to go up 13-7.

The big hit came from Chartier’s bat, as he knocked in two more runs, giving him four runs batted in on the day.

Camp Verde would not go away, however, scoring two runs and loading the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the seventh inning.

J.R. Henry was brought back in to pitch, and he struck out the next three batters to get out of the jam and end the game with Sedona coming out on top, 13-9.

“What an exciting game. We have a habit of making it interesting,” Rob Henry said.

Sedona played Chino Valley in the championship game Wednesday, July 11, to decide who goes to Tucson to play in the state tournament.

Results were not available at press time.

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