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Coronado baseball advances to state with walk-off win — PHOTOS

Coronado and Green Valley needed extra innings Thursday to determine the Southern Region’s second spot at next week’s Class 5A state baseball tournament.

First baseman Jase Pashales delivered to send the Cougars to state.

Pashales doubled down the left-field line, and Louis Dion scored to give Coronado, the Desert League’s No. 2 seed, a 2-1 home win in eight innings over Green Valley, the Mountain League’s No. 4 seed, in an elimination game.

“It’s surreal. These guys have worked their butts off all year,” Coronado coach Garrett Smith said. “They got hot at the right time, and that’s what it took. It was a great game.”

Coronado (22-12) will play at Palo Verde at 1 p.m. Friday for the region title and the South’s No. 1 seed at next week’s state tournament. Coronado must win twice to claim the region title. Palo Verde, the Mountain League’s No. 2 seed, defeated Coronado 3-1 in the winners’ bracket game Wednesday.

“We were all biting our nails there,” Smith said. “Every pitch was so important, every play, every at-bat, it just matters so much. I can’t say enough about our guys and the way they performed to the end. They just grinded till the end. That’s what it took in this one.”

Pashales went 2-for-4 with two doubles and drove in both Coronado runs.

“This is amazing,” Pashales said. “This is one of the best things I’ve ever felt in my life.”

In the bottom of the eighth, Dion walked with one out. Pashales swung on the first pitch of the at-bat and sent it down the left-field foul line.

As the ball rolled down the line and rattled around the corner, Smith sent Dion home.

“Jase offensively was our spark today. He got both RBIs,” Smith said. “It was the same swing and identical spot where he hit the ball. It was questionable whether I was going to send Dion, and when I saw the bobble, I sent (Dion).”

As Dion raced home, the Cougars sprinted out of the dugout to start the celebration with Pashales on second base.

“I was just thinking, ‘Oh my god, we’re going to state,’” Pashales said.

Green Valley (17-19) won an earlier elimination game Thursday against Faith Lutheran 7-6 to get a crack at Coronado.

Coronado scored first when Pashales doubled to bring home Evan Festa in the third to put the Cougars ahead 1-0.

After leaving two runners on base in both the first and third innings, Green Valley tied the score in the fifth when Caden Kirby singled and Jet McNelis scored.

Coronado got five strong innings out of starter Jack Page, who got some help from his defense to end the fifth as catcher AJ Stalteri tagged out Kirby as he tried to score on a passed ball.

Page and Festa, who pitched the final three innings to earn the win, “did everything they needed to do,” Pashales said. “We had some great plays in the outfield by Drew Steffen and in the infield from Dion, Matthew Moreno. All the guys helped us win this game.”

Festa finished 2-for-4 with a run scored for Coronado. Ben Byington finished 2-for-4 for Green Valley.

Including an early season tournament game, Palo Verde has defeated Coronado twice this season. Smith said timely hitting and keeping Palo Verde off the bases will be key in trying to win two games Friday.

“It took a ton of resiliency,” Smith said. “They knew they needed to win one more game (to go to state). It didn’t go in our favor (Wednesday), but they came into today with the right attitude.”

Contact Alex Wright at awright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlexWright1028 on X.

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