Pima leads Arizona Western in Game 1 of the best-of-three ACCAC Division I, Region I semifinals

Pima's David Shackelford (12) is congratulated by Antonio Avila on his home run in the seventh inning Thursday (Gilbert Alcaraz/Special to

Pima's baseball team is one game away from advancing to the ACCAC Division I, Region I championship series after defeating Arizona Western 7-6 in Game 1 of the best-of-three semifinal series on Thursday at West Campus Aztec Field.

The second-seeded Aztecs (43-14) host No. 3 Arizona Western (37-16) in Game 2 on Friday at 2 p.m.

In Thursday's other semifinal, No. 4 South Mountain defeated No. 1 Central Arizona 14-6 in Coolidge. The second game of this series also takes place on Friday at 2 p.m

If Pima defeats Arizona Western and South Mountain (33-23) on Friday against Central Arizona (44-13), the Aztecs will host the regional championship series.

The Aztecs overcame a four-run, first-inning deficit against Arizona Western in Thursday's game.

The game ended 6-0 in the seventh inning David Shackelford hit a solo home run to left field to start the inning.

Pima cut the lead to 4-1 Jontae Hennessys RBI single with two outs in the third. The goal scored Elijah Reeves (Marana), who left earlier. Collin Sr single to advance Reeves ahead of Hennessy's single.

The Aztecs mustered four runs in the fourth to take a 5-4 lead.

Their first three batters – Shackelford, Kito Castro (Tucson) and Antonio Avila – reached on singles to load the bases.

Caleb Herd (Cienega) followed with a walk to force at Shackelford, cutting the lead to 4-2.

Reeves followed with a two-run single, tying the game at 4.

With one out, Herd scored on a fielder's choice, giving the Aztecs the lead.

Pima loaded the bases again in the fifth before Herd hit a sacrifice fly to center field to extend the lead to 6-4.

Arizona Western rallied for two runs in the sixth, tying the game at 6, before Shackelford hit his go-ahead home run in the seventh.

Garrett Hicks (6-1) picked up the win after throwing 3 2/3 scoreless innings in relief. He allowed just one hit, struck out one and did not walk a batter. He retired the team in the ninth inning, securing the win.

Pima had five players with at least two hits as part of its 12-hit attack.

Hennessy led them all with three goals. Reeves finished 2 for 4 with one run and two RBIs. Shackelford was 2 for 4 with two runs and an RBI, Senior was 2 for 5 with an RBI and Castro was 2 for 4 with a run.

Sahuarita graduate Diego Alvarez was the starting pitcher for Pima. He recorded a no-decision in 5 1/3 innings of work. He allowed nine hits and five earned runs with four strikeouts and one walk.


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