Sports & Recreation

Approximately 900 Native athletes represented 26 different tribes from across Indian Country in the 16th Annual Arizona Diamondbacks Inter-Tribal Youth Baseball Tournament and 7th Annual NABI Baseball & Softball Invitational. SRPMIC had six participating teams in the tournament.

Inter-Tribal Youth Baseball & Softball Games

By Dustin Hughes, Richie Corrales and Sheila Begay
Au-Authm Action News

Salt River Sidewinders and Lil Nation Compete

During the 16th Annual Arizona Diamondbacks Inter-Tribal Youth Baseball Tournament and 7th Annual NABI Baseball & Softball Invitational, the Salt River Sidewinders played against the Shiprock Angels at the Salt River ball field on Friday, June 20. This was the Sidewinders first game of the tournament in the single A pool division.

The Shiprock Angels were already warmed up from a previous game, they were ready to play. The Sidewinders couldn’t score any runs against the Angels and would suffer a devastating 0-12 loss against the Angels.

On Saturday morning, the Salt River Lil’ Nation played an early morning game against Tohono O’odham Jujudumi at the Matt Mantei field in Tempe. Before the Lil’ Nation walked on the field, Coach Nelson Wood reminded them to work together, make good throws and play some good defense.

All warmed up and ready to go, the Jujudumi team wasted no time being first up to bat, Lil’ Nation pitcher Loryn Wood threw several strikes but, the Jujudumi had some very strong hitters on their team. Throughout the morning Lil’ Nation was not able to score any runs, but did not give up very easily.

Jujudumi prevailed and won the game 11-0. The Lil’ Nation, still in great spirit looked forward to the next game that day as they kept a smile on their faces.

Salt River Ba’ag Bats Fall Silent

In the 16th annual Arizona Diamondbacks and NABI intertribal tournament, the Salt River Ba’ag had difficulty finding home plate as they were swept in the tournament. The team was made up of a majority of the Salt River High School students who played for the varsity baseball team. After falling to a mediocre inter-tribal team from southern California, Ba’ag took on the Page Native All Stars and looked to Community member Isaiah Corrales for pitching. However, solid pitching by the All Stars and fundamental errors kept Ba’ag from finding any rhythm.

The same story was told when they took on the New Mexico Roadrunners, who went on to play in the finals, Friday evening under the lights at Salt River Fields. The ten-run rule came in affect shortly after the 5th inning, resulting in another shutout.

“It was fun participating in NABI. This was the second year that Salt River high entered a team into the tournament. The boys played well and represented their Community,” said head coach Kino Reed.

Mesa Indians Go 2-1 at NABI Tournament

In the Double A, pool 3 section of the tournament, the Mesa Indians went 2-1. They started off strong offensively and punished their opponents with strong pitching and loud bats. But, the Indians team fell short against Four Corners Lobos, shutting them out 8-0.

Head Coach Stanford Cooper says he is very proud of the boys and their performance. “There’s all levels of talent here and you never know who you’re going to play. Most of the boys are from Salt River, they prepared and played well, all of them. It’s unfortunate we didn’t make it to the pool play [Championship bracket].”

Although it was their only loss, it was enough for the Indians to fall short of advancing. The Lobos, ended up losing to a very good Chinle White Sox team in the championship game.

Native Thunder Take Third at NABI

The girls of Native Thunder have a lot to be proud of as they place third place in the annual D-Backs & NABI intertribal softball tournament. After an impressive beginning, Native Thunder defeated their opponents with an average of six runs. They also defeated an inter-tribal team that featured Community member and slugger Nikki Kaukahi on their roster. The Native Thunder advanced to pool play. After losing to the Dreamcatchers, who ended up being this year’s champions, the Thunder were bumped to compete in the third place game against the DaKine Nation. This competitive match-up proved to be the toughest for the Thunder, but pulled away and came out with the win, defeating DaKine 10-3.

"I'm very proud of the girls,” said head coach, Scott Cooper, “They played hard and I couldn’t ask for a better effort, especially in that heat you know? There was a lot of good talent out there.”

Congratulations to the Mesa Indians! Triple A Baseball Tournament Champions!

On Friday, June 20 the Mesa Indians played the Bidziil Boyz, coming out on top with their third consecutive win in the Triple A baseball pool play at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. The Mesa Indians dominated the Bidziil Boyz in an 8-0 win. The triple digit temperatures didn’t stop the Indians, who clearly showed team work and proved their love for the game of baseball.

Mesa Indians and Bidziil Boyz Game Highlights
The game remained 0-0 until the bottom of the fourth inning when Mesa Indians’ Tony Sepulvada, No. 22, hit the ball into the right field helping to gain his team one point. This ice breaker gave the boys more confidence as they stepped up to the plate.

At the bottom of the fifth inning, the Bidziil Boyz trailed behind the Mesa Indians 0-3. Sepulvada hit another base hit, which brought his teammates to their feet as it looked to be a home run from the teams dug out. Sepulvada ended the inning with a 4-0 domination over the Bidziil Boyz.

The game became more frustrating for the Bidziil Boys whose pitcher was their only hope in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Mesa Indians gained four more runs beating the Bidziil Boyz 8-0. With this win, the Mesa Indians advanced to the Triple A Baseball Division Championship Bracket. On Saturday, June 21 the Mesa Indians were crowned the Triple A Baseball tournament champions.

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