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Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

A Mesa Indians' player approaches homeplate as the Lechee Lizards' player catches the ball before the Indians could score a run.

Despite the grueling 100-degree heat, the 54th Annual Southwest Men’s Baseball Tournament attracted 18 teams from Arizona and New Mexico. The tournament was held at the Salt River baseball field July 28-30.

The SRPMIC-affiliated teams that participated in the tournament were the Mesa Indians, the Lehi Raiders and the Salt River Blue Jays.

This year’s championship game was played between Team America from Guadalupe and the NM Roadrunners from New Mexico. The New Mexico Roadrunners were crowned champions with an overall score of 14-9.

Mesa Indians

The Mesa Indians, coached by Steve Cooper, had one Community member on the team. The Indians played a total of four games. They won the first two, which kept them in the championship bracket, but ended up losing to Team America, a team from Oregon, which took second place in the tournament.

“We’re rebuilding. We’re going to start early and start practicing as well. We had a team we weren’t expecting at the last minute, but we’ll be ready next time around,” said assistant coach Jary Cooper. “As far as high school baseball, we’re going to enter in a couple tournaments before and during NABI ….. We’ll be entering about five tournaments in the near future.”

Mesa Indians results:

Mesa Indians 11, Lechee Lizards 7
Mesa Indians 8, Albuquerque Indios 7
Mesa Indians 3, Team America 18
Mesa Indians 8, CD Indians 12

Lehi Raiders

The Lehi Raiders, coached by Community member Jason Makil, had seven Community members on the team. The Raiders played a total of three games and fell short of making it to the championship bracket.

“Lehi always looks forward to this tournament, to see how we fare against the other teams, local and from statewide. Also, we get to see players who have played with us before, who may now play with another team. Seeing old friends is always good,” said Makil.

Lehi Raiders results:

Lehi Raiders 7, AZ Reds 2
Lehi Raiders 3, Mesa Rays 7
Lehi Raiders 4, Mesa CC Reds 7

SR Blue Jays

The SR Blue Jays, coached by Community member Dillon Manuel, had 15 men on his team and 14 were Community members. The Blue Jays played a total of two games. Aside from playing for fun, Manuel joked that his players were the “originals” of Salt River.

“It’s been a while since I played in the Southwest [tournament]. This baseball team was my son Isaiah’s idea, to get this team together. So I thought I’d give it another shot at putting Salt River men’s baseball back on the map,” said Manuel, laughing. “I’m hoping these young men will continue to come back out next season to play for the SR Blue Jays or just play when it’s in season. I personally would like to continue to see the Salt River team made up of actual Community members. That’s how the old 1990s Salt River Blue Jays were, basically made up of 99 percent Community members. I would like to give a big overdue thank-you to Delbert Fulwilder (Manuel) for everything; much love and respect.”

SR Blue Jays results:

SR Blue Jays 2, Guadalupe IceBoys 11
SR Blue Jays 3, Lechee Lizards 12

For more information about upcoming local baseball tournaments, call the Salt River Recreation Department at (480) 362-6360.

Click here to view photo gallery.