Salt River High School hosted its annual Salt River Classic Baseball Tournament March 27-29. This year, 28 teams from in and out of the state traveled to compete in perfect Phoenix weather. The Salt River Eagles finished the tournament with a 2-2 record.
Heading into the tournament, the Eagles were 3-9 overall, with a 1-1 record in their section. Their first game of the tournament was on March 27 against the Salome High School Frogs, who came out of the gate with unstable pitching. The Eagles took advantage, scoring seven runs in the first inning. Unable to keep the Eagles’ bats silent, the Frogs were faced with the 10-run rule. The pitcher for the Eagles, senior Robert Norris, had eight strikeouts.
The story was no different the following day against the Eagles’ next opponent, the Canyon State Academy Rams. Scoring a run in the first inning and adding another six runs in the second inning, the Eagles bats were on fire and the Rams also fell victim to the 10-run rule. Senior Isaiah Corrales led the team in RBIs with three.
In Friday afternoon’s game, the Eagles faced the Warriors from San Pasqual Valley High in Winterhaven, California. The Warriors built a comfortable lead early in the game and maintained it with good defense. During the final inning of play, the Eagles started to come alive. Looking to rally, they brought in four runs, but it was too little too late; the Eagles struck out, leaving the bases loaded. The Eagles scored their first loss, 7-4. Senior Mahki Marcus retired four batters.
On March 29, the final day of the tournament, the Eagles faced the Tonopah Valley High School Phoenix team. The Eagles started out looking good, scoring two runs in the first inning. But their pitching kept them from maintaining their lead, walking eight batters. After making errors on routine plays, the Eagles watched the Phoenix score eight runs, allowing them to advance to the next round of play and eventually finishing as the division runner-up. Corrales retired three batters before being relieved by Isiah Manuel.
“When you make an error or strike out, you have to get over it,” explained Eagles head coach Eric Barton. “You can’t let that affect your game; you have to know how to put it behind you and keep playing. That’s what happened here—someone made a mistake, then someone else did, and we never recovered from it.”
In the Silver Division, in which the Eagles competed, it was the San Carlos High School Braves who took the tournament, defeating the Tonopah Valley Phoenix, 5-2. Sisters High School, all the way from Oregon, took first place in the Gold Division, followed by Northland Prep.