Naa’taanii wins D-Backs tourney with shutout

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Naa’taanii’s Izic Thomas (4) avoids being tagged out by Padre’s catcher Cesear Snowball Saturday in Scottsdale, Arizona.


The opportunity to play at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick was pretty special for the members of the Naa’taanii baseball team.

Winning the Arizona Diamondbacks Inter-Tribal Double A Baseball Tournament for the second consecutive time was an added bonus for the Shiprock-based team as Naa’taanii shutout the Padres, 4-0, last Saturday.

“This is a real nice facility,” Naa’taanii team member Dakota Cummings said. “The dirt is nice. It didn’t hurt when you had to slide.”

Naa’taanii coach Dineh Benally said it was a huge thing for all the reservation kids to play at Talking Stick, especially for those who play on dirt fields at home.

“This is a good venue for Native American kids,” Benally said. “A lot of Natives don’t get this opportunity to play in a field like this one.”

After three scoreless innings, Naa’taanii made the Padres pay on a miscue to forge ahead 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth with Cummings scoring the first run on a dropped pop up.

That two-out run was set up by Naa’taanii first baseman Justin Yazzie as his fourth offering sailed vertically in what seemed like a routine out at second.

Yazzie later scored an unearned run when Eric Beyale hit an RBI single in left field.

“They gave us a couple of extra outs and we capitalized on it,” Benally said.

Cummings said scoring those two runs helped his team relax a little bit since this was the second meeting between the two teams.

“Walking in here I was pretty nervous because our last game it was tough one,” he said, while referring to their 5-2 win over the Padres in pool play action.

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Categories: Baseball
Tags: Naa’taanii

About Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at