LIONS KICK-OFF TOURNEY: Gators’ fourth one-run game wins title

Green Valley baseball coach Corey Gehlken said he was looking forward to a long nap.

He and his players earned one.

The Gators got a run in the bottom of the sixth Saturday at Desert Oasis to beat the Diamondbacks 7-6 in the championship game of the Lions Kick-Off Tournament. Green Valley was 6-0 in the three-day event.

“Hopefully, we can just continue it,” Gehlken said. “Hopefully, we can just keep on the right path; 6-0 is a great start, but it’s not the ultimate goal; 6-0 at the beginning doesn’t matter at the end of the season. That’s what’s more important.”

Green Valley got a boost from No. 9 hitter Eric Samson, who lined a single to right to lead off the bottom of the sixth.

A.J. Amelburu sacrificed Samson to second to set the table for three-year starters Jarond Penniman and Jarrett Perns.

Penniman struck out, but Perns came through, lining a shot off the foot of pitcher Jake Lucas. The ball caromed into left field, and Samson scored the go-ahead run. Perns batted .550 with 11 RBIs in the six tournament games.

“There’s no doubt he’s a heck of a player,” Gehlken said of Perns, who was 3-for-4 with two RBIs in the final. “And the guy in front of him is no slouch, either. … It’s not just about one guy. If one guy doesn’t get the job done, that’s why it’s a team game. You can’t play this game by yourself, no matter how many times people want to.

“I was real confident with either one of those guys coming up. Penny didn’t get it done, Jarrett came up and did what he does for us. Great at-bat, and a good swing on good pitches.”

Reliever Noah Wise then set down the Diamondbacks in the seventh, erasing a one-out walk by inducing a game-ending double play.

Wise went 4 2/3 innings, allowing one hit and one walk. He started and pitched four innings Thursday against Rancho.

“I asked, ‘Can you give us more?’ ” Gehlken said. “He said absolutely. He went down and pitched his game, hit spots and competed. And that’s all you can ask of him.”

The Gators were challenged repeatedly in the tournament, winning four of the six games by one run. They scored the go-ahead run in their final at-bat of three of those games.

“We saw a lot of situations; a lot of different things came up,” Gehlken said. “We battled back and forth with a couple different teams. We just kept fighting and playing for each other, and that’s what we’re doing this year.”

Bryson Stott was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs for Desert Oasis.

Green Valley 8, Basic 3 — At Desert Oasis, No. 9 hitter Eric Samson went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI to help the Gators top the Wolves in a semifinal.

Blake Inouye was 2-for-3, and Ty Burger went 1-for-2 with two RBIs for Green Valley, which broke a 3-3 tie with a three-run fifth inning. Jarrett Perns was 1-for-2 with a triple, an RBI and two runs for the Gators.

Tanner Roundy was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, and teammate Jack Wold went 2-for-4 for Basic.

Desert Oasis 3, Centennial 1 — At Desert Oasis, Dominic Paratore’s two-run home run in the third inning put the Diamondbacks ahead to stay in a semifinal win over the Bulldogs.

Paratore finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs, and Bryson Stott went 2-for-4 for Desert Oasis.

Chris Van Kuren tossed a three-hitter and struck out four.

Jake Portaro was 2-for-3 for Centennial.

Durango 15, Sierra Vista 1 — At Sierra Vista, Kenny Busse was 3-for-3 with a triple, a double, three runs and three RBIs as the Trailblazers routed the Mountain Lions.

Richard Mascarenas was 4-for-4 with a double and four runs for Durango.

Kaito Sukeyasu tossed five scoreless innings of relief, striking out seven, for the Trailblazers.

Bishop Manogue 13, Durango 1 — At Sierra Vista, Lucas Howard tossed a five-inning three-hitter to lead the Miners by the Trailblazers.

Charlie Smith was 2-for-2 and scored Durango’s run.

Manogue was a 4-1 winner over Rancho in a morning game. The Miners broke a 1-1 tie with a three-run sixth inning.

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