The Northwest Red Raiders American Legion baseball team captured the state championship with a 3-2 win over Tucson Mayhem in Surprise on Saturday.
They now advance to the American Legion West Regional on the campus of the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Play opens Thursday against the Colorado state champions.
The Red Raiders team consists primarily of players from Mountain View High School, and also has a handful of Pusch Ridge Christian players.
The tournament lasted five days, and the Red Raiders went 4-1. They opened with a 15-5 win over Mountain Ridge of Phoenix, then beat Tucson Mayhem — a team with some Canyon del Oro players — 11-8.
A win over defending state champion Tucson KFC 16-1 on Thursday enabled the Red Raiders to advance, and it exacted revenge for a regular-season tie against KFC. Friday, the Red Raiders lost 5-4 to Tucson Post 7, before defeating Tucson Mayhem again for the title on Saturday.
Pitcher Stan Brown of Catalina Foothills came on and closed out the win by pitching a scoreless ninth inning. Jake Pierce of Mountain View belted a run-scoring double with two outs in the eighth to break a 2-2 tie.
Owen Bertelsen of Pusch Ridge was named MVP of the tournament.
"This is the first state championship for the Red Raiders," said coach Bill Leith. "And the first time in 20 years a team other than Tucson Post 7 or Tucson KFC have won the Arizona State Legion championship."
Mountain View players on the roster included Kyle Barger, Vincent Gerhard, Robert Kallal, Zach Koprowski, Corey Leith (now with Pima Community College), Ruben Lerman, Austin Moore, Pierce, Daman Romero and Matt Young.
Pusch Ridge was represented by Bertelsen, 2A player of the year Aaron Vaughn, Dawson Jones (now with San Diego Christian College) and Daniel Vavrusa.
The league is for players who are 19 and under.
"This league is for the upper classmen," said coach James Gerhard. "It will help kids going to college."
The Red Raiders had finished the regular season 10-6.
"They had an average year," said Jim Vaughn. "They played a pretty impressive tournament. They got better as time went on."