After a two-year hiatus, the Naataanii baseball team made a return trip to the Arizona desert to participate in the 18th annual Arizona Diamondbacks Intertribal Baseball Tournament.
Naataanii made their return trip memorable as they captured the Double A Division baseball tournament with an 8-0 win over the Shiprock Angels in Saturday morning’s championship game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
Naataanii pounded out 12 hits in the shortened six-inning game.
“We have 12 players on the team and everyone can hit,” Naataanii coach Carlyle Harvey said. “We did that today against a good Shiprock Angel team. Pedro Tom is an awesome coach and we knew it was going to be a challenge so we had to get our bats going.”
After coming up with two hits in the first two frames, Naataanii went through its entire lineup in the bottom of the third and plated four runs for a 5-0 lead.
Leadoff hitter Matthew Duncan got it started with a single and he scored on RBI single from second baseman Dionte Yazzie, who worked his way to a full count.
Next at bat, Cochiese Sorrelhorse earned a walk before Kobe Shorty kept the rally going with a RBI single.
Shiprock Angel pitcher Adriel Eaton got the next two batters to fly out but Naataanii went back to work with left outfielder Chris Aspaas pounding a hit in left field that scored another run.
In the fifth, Sorrelhorse added an in-the-park homer on a 1-1 pitch count.
Naataanii scored its final run in the sixth with Yazzie plating that run on a single hit by Shorty.
“The kids did an awesome job,” said Harvey, who added that during pool play they did not allow a run.
“It was mostly our pitching, all our players can pitch,” he said. “We had that advantage over all the teams.”