Pinal Mountain Little League All-Stars miss chance to clinch state tournament bid

Aaron Tohtsoni/Arizona Silver Belt Drew Hernandez delivers a pitch for the Pinal Mountain All-Stars.

The Pinal Mountain Little League Major All-Stars nearly punched their ticket to the state tournament last Friday evening. They were facing the Mt. Graham Little League All-Stars in a double-elimination tournament.

They fell 7-4.

Had Pinal Mountain won, they would have eliminated Mt. Graham and earned a bid to state after dispatching Mt. Graham earlier in the week. However, an if-necessary game took place Monday evening with the winner advancing to state.

“We came out flat and we were not excited,” said Pinal Mountain head coach Billy Sanchez after the game. “Keep (their) heads up, we have one more game and it’s not over yet.”

Mt. Graham jumped  to an early 4-1 lead before Pinal Mountain battled back to tie the game at 4. However, Mt. Graham quickly responded and added three runs late to lock up the win and force a decisive game.

“We just didn’t get the win,” said Sanchez. “Everyone played well but obviously Mt. Graham came out ahead.”