Camp Verde's major league all-star baseball team sits in the driver's seat as the district tournament for 11- and 12-year-olds winds down this week in Cottonwood.
They still haven't lost a game in the 10-team event and just need to win tonight (Wednesday) to claim the championship. Even if Camp Verde loses, they'll get another shot at the title Thursday.
Tonight's game starts at 7:30 p.m. at Herridge Field. If needed, Thursday's grudge match will also start at 7:30 at Herridge.
"It's been a good tournament – unusually good," said Art Moncibaez, one of Camp Verde's coaches. "I knew we could hit the ball, but we've also played good defense."
Camp Verde players have had a couple days to rest for the championship round. They beat Wickenburg 5-1 on Saturday night to improve to 3-0 (other wins came against Chino Valley and Dewey-Humboldt). Meanwhile, other teams have been battling through the losers' bracket.
"We're just waiting for teams to be eliminated," Moncibaez said.
Luis Diaz and Sean Simonz shared pitching duties in the win over Wickenburg. Simonz had a stellar night at the plate as well, continuing an all-star tournament for him.
"He's batting about .700," Moncibaez said.
The best that people can remember, Camp Verde's last appearance in a district championship game came in 1978.
This year's roster includes Diaz, Simonz, Brice Baird, Brendon Nelson, Zachary Hauser, Thommy Ostert, William Trahin, Waylon Bleak, Nicholas Reeves, Harold Mitchell, Frankie Shultz and Taylor Hammond. Coaches Steve Moncibaez and Jim Bleak join Art Moncibaez in the dugout.
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Sedona's all-stars dropped out of contention Monday night with a 6-2 loss to Prescott Valley.
"It was an excellent game," said Sedona coach Lloyd Coker. "There were no errors. They just kind of outhit us."
Coker's team won two games before bowing out, beating Bagdad 12-10 and Dewey-Humboldt 20-7 last week. Their other loss came against Chino Valley 12-10 on opening night.
James Christy, Nick Reynolds, Lloyd Coker, Mike McClintock, Danny Wyatt, Justin Kraft, Michael Kratnak, Edwar Medina, Joe Cook, Doug Bennett, Scott Usry and Andrew Cockrum comprised Sedona's all-star line-up. Scott Davis and Pat McClintock helped coach the team.
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Verde Valley's 11-12 all-stars finished with a 1-2 record, beating Williams and losing twice to Prescott Valley. Verde Valley all-stars were Spenser Earl, Curtis Luttrell, Malachi Collins, David Sanchez, Jordan Butler, Ross Ledbetter, Mike Cook, Chad Elmer, Brandon Holmes, K.W. Mulcaire, Patrick Moran, Raymond Chavez, Billy Grant and Aaron Hauser.