Bagdad advances to the state semifinals
Pitcher Tony Ventura allowed one hit, struck out six and walked four in three innings, leading the second-seeded Bagdad baseball team to an 18-2 run-ruled victory over No. 7 San Pasqual in the 1A State Championship tournament quarterfinals Saturday.
At Goodyear Baseball Complex, the Sultans defeated 3A West Region opponent San Pasqual for the third time this season. The AIA reported that Bagdad defeated San Pasqual by forfeit Saturday since the game lasted only three innings because the Warriors ran out of pitching.
In any event, defending small schools’ state runner-up Bagdad advances to the state semifinals to battle third-seeded Valley Union at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 12, at Goodyear Baseball Complex, Reds field No. 6.
The Bagdad-Valley Union winner faces the victor of Friday’s No. 4 Ray-No. 1 Superior semifinal for the state championship at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, May 13, at Surprise Stadium. Superior was 1A’s only unbeaten team in power-point games this season, surpassing Ray for the 1A East title. Last year at state, Superior lost in the quarterfinals to eventual state champ Pima, now of 2A. Bagdad pummeled Ray in the quarters.
On Saturday, Bagdad was paced offensively by Ben Loveall (1 for 2, three RBIs, walk), Israel Loveall (1 for 2, triple, three RBIs) and Connor Pacheco (2 for 2, RBI, two runs scored).
Sultans coach Dalton Mills said he hasn’t used his top two pitchers through the first two rounds of state. Israel Loveall is Bagdad’s ace and Ben Loveall is the squad’s capable No. 2. Mills added that he hasn’t decided which one of them will pitch in the semis on Friday.
Bagdad eliminated No. 15 seed Mayer, 15-0, in a run-ruled five innings in the first round Friday. Freshman righty Zaac Vasquez pitched that game for the Sultans.
During his preparation for Valley Union, Mills said he’ll focus on Blue Devils right-hander Sean Hawn, a sturdy starter for the 1A South champs.