Catalina Foothills (21-11) edged the defending 4A-I state champion CDO baseball team, 4-3, in Friday's semi-final, ending the season for the top-seeded Dorados (28-3).
Strangely, the 12th-seeded Falcons handed the Dorados two of their three losses.
"I think both teams are fairly similar," said CDO coach Len Anderson.
Falcons 6-foot-5 hurler Preston Jamison was the pitching culprit for the second time this year.
"We didn't have much of an answer for Preston Jamison," Anderson said.
The Dorados had to rely on other pitching options after Bubba Metz pitched a complete-game win over Sunrise Mountain, 8-2, last Wednesday.
Luke Parish-Ward started and kept the score tied at two through the first four innings.
"They did a great job," Anderson said. "Our pitchers gave us a chance to win."
The problems for CDO began in the fifth. Parrish-Ward was actually one out away from a 1-2-3 inning before he walked two batters. After yielding a run-scoring single to give Foothills a 3-2 lead, Parrish-Ward was replaced by Hayden Cota-Robles.
The first batter the reliever faced hit another run-scoring single to make it 4-2.
In their last at-bat, Ryan Gerber homered to make it 4-3, and Corey Fujimoto singled with two outs to provide hope, before Jamison got the final out.
"He made big pitches whenever he needed to," Anderson said.
The Dorados out-hit the Falcons, 7-6. Gerber had three hits, while Alan Drake added two more.
In the win over ninth-seeded Sunrise Mountain, Bubba Metz pitched the whole game. The Dorados scored all eight of their runs in the fifth inning. Gerber had two hits.
"A lot of people contributed," Anderson said. "Just like all season.We take a team approach. One of our philosophies is no one's above the team."
This year's Dorados actually won more games, 28, than last year's title team, which was 24-7. Overall, CDO was ranked ninth in Arizona, according to Max Preps.
Coach Anderson said he is very proud for his 11 seniors, who were all key parts of a team that went 52-10 over the last two years.
"The seniors did everything expected of them," he said. "They practiced well. The outcome is not the most important thing, it's the process."
Gerber broke a school record for hits with 63, batted .512, and scored a team-leading 46 runs. Five other seniors were at .400 or close.
Ryan Cota batted .464, Drake .458, Fujimoto .427, Cota-Robles .416, and pitching ace Metz batted .392. Fujimoto led the team with 47 runs batted in, while Gerber had 45 RBIs.
In 5A-II double elimination play, the Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks (21-11) were eliminated after a 10-8 loss to Marcos de Niza. They finished 2-2 in the tournament.
A 10-run inning in the fourth came back to haunt the Nighthawks.
"A guy hit a two-run homer with two outs," said coach Jason Hisey.
"We came back with four in the next inning," Hisey said. "The strength of our team was offense."
Brandon Matthews batted .444 to lead the Nighthawks. Zach Sweety batted .439, and Alex Worden hit .397.
"Pitching and defense have work to do," Hisey said. "Our team ERA was over 4.50. Our fielding percentage was .925."
"Both can improve quite a bit (next year)."