The Douglas Bulldogs saw their baseball end Saturday with a heartbreaking 3-2 nine inning loss to No. 1 seeded Sunrise Mountain at the DII state playoffs in Phoenix.
Ironically all four top seeds fell that day as No. 1 seed Sunrise Mountain fell to No. 8 Sunnyslope 4-3; No. 5 Liberty edged No. 4 Douglas; No. 6 Scottsdale Saguaro upset No. 3 Sabino 15-4 in five innings and No. 10 Salpointe upset No. 2 Notre Dame 5-4.
On Saturday Sunnyslope beat Liberty 5-3 and Saguaro beat Salpointe 9-5.
In one other elimination game Saturday Sabino beat Notre Dame 8-5 while Sunrise Mountain nipped Douglas in the other.
The Bulldogs game with Sunrise Mountain lasted three hours and saw Douglas leave 13 runners on base before a suicide squeeze ended it.
Grant Watkins started the game on the mound for Douglas and lasted three and third innings before being replaced by Xavier Altamirano who came on in relief and would close out the game.
Watkins would be credited with two runs off six hits while fanning four and walking two. Altamirano would be tagged for one run off four hits while fanning 10 and walking two.
The Bulldogs struck first with a run in the top of the first when Luis Barrios led off the game with a single and later scored on a Diego Resendiz single. Douglas left the bases loaded this inning.
Sunrise Mountain tied the game with a run in the third and then scored again in the fourth taking a 2-1 lead.
Douglas tied the game in the top of the fifth when Barrios scored on a Roy Aguirre single.
Sunrise Mountain had two runners on base in the bottom of the seventh but was unable to score as the game moved to extra innings.
With runners on second and third in the bottom of the ninth the Mustangs laid down a suicide squeeze that allowed the winning run to score thus ending the Bulldogs season.
Aguirre hit 2 for 4 this game. Barrios was 2 for 5, Rose was 1 for 2, Watkins and Jason Sanez 1 for 4 and Resendiz 1 for 5.
Two days before against Liberty the Bulldogs had a brief 1-0 lead before three errors led to three runs for the Lions as Douglas fell.
Aguirre started the game on the mound for Douglas and went all seven innings giving up three runs off five hits while fanning four and walking two.
Watkins was 1 for 2 this game while Aguirre, Christian Dorame and Sanez each were 1 for 3.
In the win over Gila Ridge Barrios’ run in the third gave Douglas its first run of the game. Blaze Rose later scored giving the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.
Gila Ridge scored its lone run of the game in the top of the fourth cutting the Dogs lead to 2-1.
Aguirre led off the bottom half of the fourth with a double and Christian Dorame followed with a two run homer to left giving Douglas a 4-1 lead.
Jorge Escalante’s run in the fifth gave the Bulldogs a 5-1 lead.
Barrios hit 2 for 3 this game while Escalante, Aguirre, Altamirano, Resendiz, Dorame and Sanez each hit 1 for 3.
Looking back on the season Coach Gilbert Rojas said this was one of the better teams he’s has in a long time.
“They played with a lot of passion and heart,” he said. “Obviously our goal was to win (state) and we didn’t get there but there were a lot of positive things that happened this year.”
The coach said in both games in Phoenix his team was unable to get the timely hits it needed in order to score some runs.
Rojas admits he has some big shoes to fill next season but with the success of a junior varsity program this past season there will be talent to pick from.
“Every year is different so we’ll see what happens next year,” he said.
The Bulldogs end the season 22-8.