Tenth seeded Tombstone High baseball fell 5-1 to 23-seeded Mogollon High School in an upset loss in the first round of the Arizona Intercollegiate Association Division IV State Championship tournament on May 3 in Tombstone, ending their season.
“We had two goals: we wanted to get to the state tournament and we thought we could make a little run in the state tournament,” head coach James Milligan said of his team’s season. “We put ourselves in a position to make a run but it just didn’t happen.”
The difference in the game was a four-run third inning for Mogollon, all three runs unearned, coming courtesy of three Tombstone errors.
Ace pitcher Dillon Dahl was unable to make the start because of an abdominal injury, but came on in relief and allowed just one run on three hits in four innings, striking out five without walking a batter.
Chris Gonzalez, Daniel Gonzalez and Jose Ortega had two hits apiece, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a strong pitching performance from Mogollon.
“We’d get a couple of hits, but we could never really get it going offensively,” Milligan said.
The loss dropped Tombstone’s final record to 12-14-1 and marked the end of the high school careers for a trio of four-year varsity performers, seniors Chris Gonzalez, Will Braswell and Cody Lopez.
Chris Gonzalez finished a terrific four-year varsity career leading the team in batting average (.431), on base percentage (.518), slugging percentage (.630), home runs (2) and stolen bases (18).
“He’s an outstanding defensive player and a good hitter,” Milligan said. “We’re gonna miss him next year.”
Chris Gonzalez’s college choice is undecided, but he intends to try to play at the next level.
Braswell, a standout on the Tombstone football and basketball teams as well, finished the season batting an even .400. He has committed to Coe College, a Division III program in Iowa, to play college football. Lopez does not plan to play ball in college.
Milligan was optimistic about next season.
“Most of our pitchers are underclassmen,” he said. “The guys that threw most of our innings in most of our games are gonna be back, so pitching should be a strong suit for us.”
Freshman Daniel Gonzalez, the younger brother of Chris, also looks like a key player going forward for Tombstone. The younger Gonzalez hit .421 this season.
“He’s gonna be some kind of player for years to come,” Milligan said.