Nate Martinez Baseball

Canyon del Oro senior pitcher Nate Martinez.

The high school baseball season has come and gone, with several local programs achieving success, both on and off the diamond. The six high schools of northwest Tucson: Catalina Foothills, Canyon del Oro, Ironwood Ridge, Marana, Mountain View and Pusch Ridge Christian Academy, have a plethora of talented players at their disposal. 

The following is a list of the players that stood out in a crowded field, guiding their respective teams to success. 

Pitchers

Nate Martinez

CDO senior

6-2, 2.16 ERA, 45.1 innings, 41 strikeouts (16 walks)

Martinez emerged as the Dorados’ veteran pitcher this season, with several quality pitches that pounded the strike zone, with an impressive 2.6 to 1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The senior southpaw was the Dorados most consistent pitcher, along with sophomore flamethrower Dante Schindler, guiding Jason Hisey’s squad back to the 4A playoffs this spring. 

Dante Schindler

CDO sophomore

5-3, 1.45 ERA, 53 innings, 67 strikeouts (6 walks)

Schindler has the makings of being the next CDO superstar, compiling an insane sophomore season that shows the youngster’s potential. Schindler, who tosses a four-seam fastball that regularly clocks in in the high-80s, managed to put up an 11-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio this spring, which is eye-popping for a high schooler. The tall right-handed starter projects to be a Division I pitcher, with an impressive repertoire of pitches that befuddle opposing hitters. Expect Schindler to dominate hitters over the next two seasons, given his meteoric rise on the mound this spring.  

Jonathan Foreman

Marana sophomore

2-0, 1.50 ERA, 37.1 innings, 30 strikeouts (12 walks)

Foreman, like Schindler, is another promising sophomore arm that projects to be a tour de force on the mound in the years to come. We saw a glimpse of what the sophomore is capable of this season, with pinpoint control and a solid mixture of pitches serving as Foreman’s bread and butter. Foreman’s solid ERA of 1.50 shows how much potential he has for first-year Marana coach Arty Carrera, who has a litany of young stars at his disposal. Expect Foreman to rank up there with Schindler in the years to come. 

Noah Rojas

Catalina Foothills senior

4-1, 2.83 ERA, 29.2 innings, 30 strikeouts (26 walks) 

The only knock against Rojas this season for the Falcons was his lack of control from time to time, resulting in a pedestrian strikeout-to-walk ratio that was almost at equilibrium. Rojas was the ace of the Falcons’ pitching staff this season, with the senior showing his mettle on the mound at several points during the year. Rojas was the best pitcher on Jim Baldwin’s staff this year and deserves acclaim for the job he did in guiding the team back to the 4A playoffs a year after coming mere outs away from knocking off Nogales in the state final. 

Infielders 

Nate Baez

Ironwood Ridge senior

.414, 29 hits, 22 RBIs, 30 runs, 10 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs, 18 stolen bases

The future Arizona State Sun Devil is the best defensive infielder in Southern Arizona, by far, with a cannon of an arm and an ability to range in both directions to field grounders. Baez has improved his bat speed and plate vision each year, with this season serving as his coup de gras. Baez is going to tear the cover off the ball in Tempe, assuming he doesn’t wind up getting picked in next month’s MLB Draft. Baez’s ability to get on-base and to steal bases with ease once he gets there is remarkable for a player his age. Expect great things from the Ironwood Ridge alum in the years to come, as Baez haunts the Wildcats’ dreams in Pac-12 play. 

Enrique ‘Kiko’ Romero

CDO senior

.413, 43 hits, 21 RBIs, 28 runs, 11 doubles, 3 triples, 5 home runs, 6 stolen bases/4-0, 1.14 ERA, 34 strikeouts (13 walks)

You could make the argument that Romero deserves to be listed twice, given his solid season on the field and on the mound for the Dorados. Romero, who is slated to play at Central Arizona College next spring, certainly has a plethora of talent in all facets of the game, with a sweet left-handed swing and a ferocious delivery on the mound. The slender senior has all the tools to be follow in the footsteps of fellow CDO/CAC alum Ian Kinsler, who is a future Hall of Famer at second base at the MLB level. Romero has impressed in all aspects of the game during his four-year run at CDO, with his senior season standing out in every way possible. 

Alec Larson

Catalina Foothills senior

.389, 28 hits, 15 RBIs, 17 runs, 8 doubles, 3 triples, 1 home run, 18 stolen bases 

Larson assumed the captain’s role on Baldwin’s squad this spring, after a mass exodus of talent from last year’s 4A runner-up team. He was solid in every way possible this year, providing excellent defense at shortstop and a sweet swing that resulted in 12 extra-base hits for the Falcons this year. Larson is a prototypical shortstop, measuring in at 6 feet and weighing 165 pounds, with soft hands and a cannon of an arm. I haven’t heard where Larson is planning on playing college baseball but wouldn’t be surprised if he winds up at a well-known program in a few years, given the myriad of tools at his disposal. 

Robert Summerville

Pusch Ridge Christian Academy senior

.403, 27 hits, 14 RBIs, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, 1 stolen base 

Summerville was the offensive leader for the Lions this year, leading the team in most hitting categories, while providing a measure of calm in the middle of the team’s order. Summerville’s gaudy batting average and on-base percentage (.500) illustrate the senior’s ability to make good contact at the plate, which is an underrated tool at this level. Summerville’s senior year was the high point for the Lions, who struggled through a 9-17 season this spring. 

Outfielders

Ajay Ram

Ironwood Ridge senior

.462, 36 hits, 19 RBIs, 11 doubles, 4 triples, 2 home runs, 10 stolen bases 

Ram is one of the best offensive outfielders in Southern Arizona, with a sweet mixture of batting prowess and speed at his disposal. The senior led Kevin Baker’s team in batting average and hits, proving how valuable he was to the Nighthawks roster, as the team qualified for the 5A tournament once again. 

Gefen Gordon

Mountain View sophomore

.403, 29 hits, 20 RBIs, 6 doubles, 1 triple, 1 stolen base

Gordon was the offensive leader for a Lions squad that never was able to get going, dominating opposing pitchers on a squad that finished 10-16 overall. Gordon is a great piece for coach Kyle Ivanoff to build around, with a great mixture of speed and batting prowess that should make him a prototypical leadoff hitter in the years to come. Keep an eye on Gordon as the next two years progress, as he’s a real talent on a team full of young players with definite potential to improve. 

Simon Lytle

CDO senior

.360, 31 hits, 21 RBIs, 10 doubles, 1 triple, 7 stolen bases

Lytle was the Dorados’ best outfielder this spring, with the left-handed hitting senior putting the ball in play with ease all year. Lytle capped off an impressive four-year run with an eye-popping assortment of offensive statistics, with double-digit doubles, as well as a batting average north of .350. Lytle showed himself to be a formidable bat for Hisey’s team this spring, putting a solid final chapter together on a great four-year run at the Oro Valley high school. 

Isaiah Roebuck

Marana sophomore

.306, 22 hits, 10 RBIs, 5 doubles, 3 triples, 10 stolen bases

Roebuck is a budding two-sport star, galloping his way into Marana football fans’ hearts this past fall, while torching opponents on the Tigers’ baseball diamond this spring. Roebuck has a ridiculous set of skills at his disposal, with a great bat that puts balls in play with relative ease and a set of wheels that allows him to rack up steals without breaking a sweat. Roebuck joins Foreman as Tigers to keep an eye on in the years to come, with the former being a potential two-sport college athlete, given his success on the gridiron and the diamond so far. 

Tucson Local Media Player of the Year: Enrique ‘Kiko’ Romero

Tucson Local Media Coach of the Year: Kevin Baker, Ironwood Ridge

Tucson Local Media all region softball teams will be released next week.

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