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Tanque Verde, Tucson Mountain victorious in opening round of District 5 LL 8-10 tourney

Tucson Mountain completed its 16-9 win over Thornydale at 11:15 p.m. on Tuesday in the opening round of the District 5 Little League All-Stars 8-10 tournament at Mehl Park — way past what would have been their bed time during the school year.The teams combined for 10 runs in a sixth inning that took nearly an hour to finish.Exhilirated from the win, Tucson Mountain’s players ran the warning track in the outfield before joining for their team meeting in the right field grass. The players requested coach Danny...

Tucson Mountain completed its 16-9 win over Thornydale at 11:15 p.m. on Tuesday in the opening round of the District 5 Little League All-Stars 8-10 tournament at Mehl Park — way past what would have been their bed time during the school year.

The teams combined for 10 runs in a sixth inning that took nearly an hour to finish.

Exhilirated from the win, Tucson Mountain’s players ran the warning track in the outfield before joining for their team meeting in the right field grass. The players requested coach Danny Diaz and his staff to treat them to Buffalo Wild Wings after Wednesday’s practice ahead of Thursday’s winner’s bracket semfinal game against Tanque Verde.

They’re young so they can do this after three-hour-plus game that ends past 11 pm. Tucson Mountain LL All-Stars (8-10) having some fun after a win. pic.twitter.com/75Clbf7bkk

— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) June 22, 2022

After a win like that, which included two separate innings of batting through the lineup, Diaz and his coaches felt obliged.

“We have a good team,” Diaz said. “Everybody stepped up, my pitchers and hitters. We need to work more on the communication a little bit, but overall, they did really good.”

All four teams showed their nerves Tuesday in the opening round of the district tournament, including Tanque Verde outlasting Flowing Wells 13-8 in the other game.

In two elimination games Wednesday at Mehl Park, Western will play Continental Ranch at 5 p.m., followed by Flowing Wells facing Thornydale at 7:30.

The winner’s bracket semifinals Thursday at Mehl Park will include Oro Valley playing Canyon View at 5 p.m. and Tucson Mountain and Tanque Verde facing each other at 7:30.

Tucson Mountain starting pitcher Anthony Faras had a typical response of a player only 10 years old playing in the first game of the tournament in front of a large group of family and friends.

“I felt good; I got a little nervous but when I started going into it, I just started to feel more confident,” said Faras, who allowed only two runs (one earned) on four hira with seven strikeouts and no walks in three innings.

Tucson Mountain LL All-Star (8-10) pitcher/utility player Anthony Faras had two hits, including a double, and three runs in his team’s 16-9 win over Thornydale in the opening round of the District 5 tournament. TM plays Tanque Verde Thursday in a winner’s bracket semifinal. pic.twitter.com/FaZ10jtCNO

— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) June 22, 2022

Tucson Mountain LL All-Stars (8-10) manager Danny Diaz talks about the close bond of his team after a 16-9 win over Thornydale in the opening round of the District 5 tournament. pic.twitter.com/fF9gbZqMJP

— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) June 22, 2022

Faras was also one of the top batters for Tucson Mountain going 2 for 3 with a double and three runs.

Cash Padilla took advantage of four walks by scoring three runs and Liam Garcia was 1 for 2 with two runs and an RBI. Garcia, Jassan Provencio and Jasiel Ruiz each walked with the bases loaded to drive in runs as part of a five-run third inning that opened a 7-1 lead.

Tucson Mountain outscored Thornydale 8-7 in the last two innings to maintain its healthy lead.

Thornydale’s Logan Hohn and Santiago Ramirez each had two singles and drove in a run, and Chase Dew had two hits with a double, two runs and RBI.

In Tanque Verde’s win against Flowing Wells, leadoff hitter Titus Suba, son of coach Bobby Suba, went 3 for 5 with three runs and Reggie Browne had two runs and a stolen base.

Tanque Verde LL All-Stars (8-10) Titus Suba and Reggie Brown talk about their 13-8 win over Flowing Wells in the opening round game of the District 5 tournament. pic.twitter.com/zpZzEgPWeN

— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) June 22, 2022

The teams were tied at 6 through three innings. Tanque Verde broke the game open with four runs in the fourth that included singles and runs from Titus Suba and Weston Mitchell.

“I was pretty nervous,” Titus said. “I didn’t know how Flowing Wells was. I was really nervous. I’m glard we won.”

Browne added, “I felt like we did pretty good. We can do a little bit better. Our pitching skills can do better, our hitting skills and baserunning skills can do better, but overall, we did pretty good.”

Tanque Verde LL All-Stars (8-10) manager Bobby Suba talks about his team’s 13-8 win over Flowing Wells to open the District 5 tournament. His team advanced to the winner’s bracket semifinals Thursday. pic.twitter.com/FFTznyKmUG

— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) June 22, 2022

Bobby Suba mentioned participation increased in District 5 this year and Little League locally is “pretty healthy.”

“I go back and forth on how Little League compares with club — would I want to push my kid into that much excitment, commitment or try to just keep it fun,” he said. “Little less pressure in Little League. I love being a part of it. I love coaching it. I get to spend time with my own kid and his friends and just try to be a good influence as much as possible.”

Flowing Wells features Kaison Carey, son of former Canyon del Oro High School and Arizona running back great Ka’Deem Carey. Kaison, a first baseman and catcher, walked twice and scored two runs.

Xavier Ulloa, Brandon Stanley, Jamison Lewis and Daniel Hedgepeth each had two hits for Flowing Wells. Hedgepeth had two doubles.

MONDAY

D-5 BASEBALL 8-10: MEHL 2Oro Valley 18, Western 8Canyon View 18, Continental Ranch 3

TUESDAY

D-5 BASEBALL 8-10: MEHL 2Tanque Verde 13, Flowing Wells 8Tucson Mountain 16, Thornydale 9

WEDNESDAY

D-5 BASEBALL 8-10: MEHL 2Western vs. Continental Ranch, 5 p.m. (Elimination)Flowing Wells vs. Thornydale, 7:30 p.m. (Elimination)

THURSDAY

D-5 BASEBALL 8-10: MEHL 2Oro Valley vs. Canyon View, 5 p.m.Tanque Verde vs. Tucson Mountain, 7:30 p.m.

ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

Little League: Flowing Wells over Thornydale in an epic 8-inning game

It took 3 hours and 40 minutes for Flowing Wells to hold off Thornydale 17-14 in a District 5 Little League All-Star game held Monday night at Ora Mae Harn District Park in Marana. The game took eight innings so the “International Rule” came into play, which means a runner was placed at second base to start the inning for both teams.With the game tied 13-13, Flowing Wells placed Jake Hubbard at second base and he advanced to third after Alex Valenzuela reached on an error. Valenzuela stole...

It took 3 hours and 40 minutes for Flowing Wells to hold off Thornydale 17-14 in a District 5 Little League All-Star game held Monday night at Ora Mae Harn District Park in Marana. The game took eight innings so the “International Rule” came into play, which means a runner was placed at second base to start the inning for both teams.

With the game tied 13-13, Flowing Wells placed Jake Hubbard at second base and he advanced to third after Alex Valenzuela reached on an error. Valenzuela stole second base and then Hubbard scored on a throwing error to make it 14-13. Basilio Molina knocked in Valenzuela one out later to make it 15-13 and then Cruz Marcial singled to make it 16-13 and he would score later in the inning on another throwing error to put Flowing Wells up 17-13.

Thornydale came close to winning the game in the bottom of the sixth inning on a bases-loaded situation with one out. Molina induced a ground ball to get the winning run out at home and then an infield pop fly ended the threat. Flowing Wells scored in the seventh to make it 13-12 but Thornydale had another opportunity to end the game after scoring a run to tie the game up on an outfield error that placed the winning run at third base with no outs.

Jayden Rodriguez was on the mound after relieving Molina and he was able to collect a strike out but Francisco Maldonado was still standing at third base with only one out for Thornydale. Rylan Youngquist reached on an infield single to put two on but a line drive was caught at short and then a throw to first ended that threat thanks to the clutch double play.

Now, down 17-13, Thornydale placed Christian Yepiz at second in the bottom of the eighth and he scored on a triple from Marcus Sandoval to make it 17-14. Rodriguez picked up three strike outs to end the game.

Flowing Wells advances to the next round where the team will face Canyon View Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. at Ora Mae while Thornydale fell down to the Elimination Bracket and the team will face Oro Valley at 5 p.m. Tuesday night. Oro Valley lost to CDO 6-2 Monday night. CDO will face the winner of Flowing Wells and Canyon View Thursday night.

Flowing Wells jumped out to a 5-0 lead to start the game but Thornydale responded with four runs to make it 5-4 after one and then Thornydale took a 6-5 lead heading to the third inning. Flowing Wells scored five more in the third and a run in the fourth and fifth innings made it 12-6. Thornydale batted around the order in the bottom of the fifth to make it 12-12.

In order, Molina went 3 for 5 with a triple and two RBI; Marcial went 5 for 5 with a double and 2 RBI; Seth McGinnis went 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI; Adrian Tuccio had a double; Jayden Rodriguez had a single and Hubbard had two singles and an RBI. McGinnis got the start for Flowing Wells and he threw 4 2/3 innings with 5 strike outs; Molina threw 1 1/3 innings and Rodriguez threw the last two innings for the win with four strike outs.

For Thornydale, Carter Alstrom had an RBI double; Elias Ruiz went 2 for 2 with an RBI triple and a double; Ayden Stott went 4 for 4 with 2 doubles and 3 RBI; Maldonado had a single; Bryson Bendigo had an RBI single; Youngquist had 2 singles and an RBI; Yepiz had 2 hits; Sandoval had an RBI triple and a double; Nikolas van der Werf had 2 singles and Benjamin Wiggins had an RBI single.

Maldonado, van der Werf, Ruiz (3 Ks), Steven Torain (2 Ks), Stott (4 Ks) and Alstrom (2 Ks) all saw action on the mound for Thornydale.

The State Tournament starts on July 16 in Litchfield Park.

MONDAY, JUNE 20

D-5 BASEBALL 8-10: MEHL 2Oro Valley 18, Western 8Canyon View 18, Continental Ranch 3

D-5 BASEBALL 9-11: CURTIS 2Thornydale 14, Oro Valley 2Western 16, Tucson Mountain 3

D-5 BASEBALL 10-12: ORA MAEFlowing Wells 17, Thornydale 14 (8)Marana 10, Tucson Mountain 0CDO 6, Oro Valley 2Continental Ranch 12, Western 11

D-5 SOFTBALL 8-10: ARTHUR PACK 2Thornydale 17, Tucson Mountain 2

TUESDAY, JUNE 21

D-5 BASEBALL 8-10: MEHL 2Flowing Wells vs. Tanque Verde, 5 p.m.Tucson Mountain vs. Thornydale, 7:30 p.m.

D-5 BASEBALL 9-11: CURTIS 2Oro Valley vs. Tucson Mountain, 5 p.m. (Elimination)Canyon View vs. Marana, 7:30 p.m.

D-5 BASEBALL 10-12: ORA MAE 2Thornydale vs. Oro Valley, 5 p.m. (Elimination)Canyon View vs. Flowing Wells, 7:30 p.m.

D-5 SOFTBALL 8-10: ARTHUR PACK 2Continental Ranch vs. Thornydale, 6:30 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22

D-5 BASEBALL 8-10: MEHL 2Western vs. Continental Ranch, 5 p.m. (Elimination)

D-5 BASEBALL 9-11: CURTIS 2Canyon del Oro vs. TBD, 5 p.m.Thornydale vs. Western, 7:30 p.m.

D-5 BASEBALL 10-12: ORA MAE 2Tucson Mountain vs. TBD, 5 p.m. (Elimination)Western vs. TBD, 7 p.m. (Elimination)

D-5 SOFTBALL 8-10: ARTHUR PACK 2Tucson Mountain vs. TBD, 6:30 p.m. (Elimination)

D-12 SOFTBALL JUNIORS: FILED OF DREAMS 3Southwestern vs. Sunnyside, 6:30 p.m.

THURSDAY, JUNE 23

D-5 BASEBALL 8-10: MEHL 2Oro Valley vs. Canyon View, 5 p.m.

D-5 BASEBALL 10-12: ORA MAE 2Marana vs. Continental Ranch, 7:30 p.m.

D-12 SOFTBALL 10-12: FIELD OF DREAMS 3Sunnyside vs. Randolph, 7:45 p.m.

FRIDAY, JUNE 24

D-5 SOFTBALL 10-12: ARTHUR PACK 2Marana vs. Thornydale, 6:30 p.m.

D-5 BASEBALL 50/70: ARTHUR PACK 5Tanque Verde vs. Thornydale, 6:30 p.m.

D-12 BASEBALL 9-11: FIELD OF DREAMS 1Cactus vs. Copper Hills, 5:15 p.m.Los Ninos vs. Sunnyside, 7:45 p.m.

D-12 JUNIOR BASEBALL: JESSE OWENSRandolph vs. Empire, 5 p.m.Sunnyside vs. Copper Hills, 7:45 p.m.

D-12 SOFTBALL 10-12: FIELD OF DREAMS 3Copper Hills vs. TBD, 5:15 p.,.

SATURDAY, JUNE 25

D-5 SOFTBALL 10-12: ARTHUR PACK 2Marana vs. Thornydale, 6:30 p.m.

D-5 BASEBALL 50/70: ARTHUR PACK 5Western vs. TBD, 6:30 p.m.

D-12 BASEBALL 8-10: PURPLE HEART 4Cactus vs. Copper Hills, 5:15 p.m.Southwestern vs. Rincon, 7:45 p.m.

D-12 BASEBALL 9-11: FIELD OF DREAMS 1Rincon vs. TBD, 5:15 p.m.Randolph vs. TBD, 7:45 p.m.

D-12 JUNIOR BASEBALL: JESSE OWENSCactus vs. TBD, 5 p.m.Southwestern vs. TBD, 7:45 p.m.

D-12 SOFTBALL 8-10: FIELD OF DREAMS 3Southwestern vs. Sunnyside, 5:15 p.m.

MONDAY, JUNE 27

D-5 SOFTBALL JUNIORS: ARTHUR PACK 4Marana vs. Thornydale, 6:30 p.m.

D-12 BASEBALL 10-12: FIELD OF DREAMS 1Randolph vs. Copper Hills, 6:30 p.m.

D-12 SOFTBALL 8-10: FIELD OF DREAMS 3Copper Hills vs. TBD, 7:45 p.m.

TUESDAY, JUNE 28

D-5 SOFTBALL JUNIORS: ARTHUR PACK 4Marana vs. Thornydale, 6:30 p.m.

D-12 BASEBALL 8-10: PURPLE HEART 4Empire vs. TBD, 5:15 p.m.Sunnyside vs. TBD, 7:45 p.m.

D-12 BASEBALL 10-12: FIELD OF DREAMS 1Rincon vs. Sunnyside, 5:15 p.m.Empire vs. Cactus, 7:45 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29

D-12 BASEBALL 10-12: FIELD OF DREAMS 1Southwestern vs. TBD, 5:15 p.m.

D-12 SOFTBALL 9-11: DREAMS FIELDS 3Randolph vs. Rincon, 5:15 p.m.

DISTRICT CHAMPIONS

D-12 BASEBALL 50/70: SUNNYSIDE

Named one of “Arizona’s Heart & Sol” by KOLD and Casino del Sol, Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and a 2019 AZ Education News recognition. He was a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling and his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is a Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. He earned a Distinguished Service Award from Amphitheater and he was recognized by City Councilman Richard Fimbres. Contact Andy Morales at amoralesmytucson@yahoo.com

Tampon shortage spotlights fight against ‘period poverty’

PHOENIX – The latest supply chain problem – a shortage of feminine care items – has prompted Arizona advocates to renew calls for “period equity” to ensure that menstrual products are accessible and affordable for all.These products are a necessity, not a luxury, advocates say, and lack of access can lead to disruptions at work or school, emotional stress, infections and potentially even death.Worker shortages and manufacturing shutdowns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with disruptions...

PHOENIX – The latest supply chain problem – a shortage of feminine care items – has prompted Arizona advocates to renew calls for “period equity” to ensure that menstrual products are accessible and affordable for all.

These products are a necessity, not a luxury, advocates say, and lack of access can lead to disruptions at work or school, emotional stress, infections and potentially even death.

Worker shortages and manufacturing shutdowns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with disruptions related to the war in Ukraine, have disrupted global supply chains, resulting in shortages of baby formula, popcorn and, now, tampons.

Consumers have taken to social media to express frustration over empty shelves and possible price gouging. For example, a 36-count box of Tampax was listed last week for $17 on Amazon.com. A 50-count box of the same product cost $9.89 at an online drugstore – but was out of stock.

Bloomberg reports the price of tampons has risen almost 10% in the past year, and the price of pads has increased 8%.

In a June 13 letter, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-New Hampshire, called on tampon manufacturers Procter & Gamble, Edgewell Personal Care and Kimberly-Clark to increase production and refrain from raising prices.

“Access to menstrual products should be treated like every other essential good,” Hassan wrote. “At the beginning of the pandemic, price gouging of essentials like toilet paper, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer was rightly criticized as an exploitation of an emergency for financial gain. Menstrual products should receive that same consideration.”

Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark and Edgewell did not respond to messages from Cronkite News, but in statements to CNET, P&G and Edgewell officials said they are working to increase production. A Kimberly-Clark spokesperson said the company wasn’t experiencing any shortages and that it plans to donate menstrual supplies to the Alliance for Period Supplies, which distributes period products for free to those in need.

Studies have documented the challenges many face in affording period products.

A 2021 study by researchers at George Mason University found that 1 in 10 college students struggled to afford period products. Black, Hispanic, immigrant and first-generation students reported the highest levels of what’s known as “period poverty.”

Lack of access to supplies can result in missed classes and anxiety, research shows. There are also physical health risks: Products might be used longer than intended or consumers might turn to unhygienic substitutes.

“We know that lack of access to period products impacts a menstruator’s ability to work, it impacts mental health, and especially their physical health,” said Demetra Presley, executive director of Arizona nonprofit Go With the Flow. The group, founded in 2017, provides free period supplies to schools in Tucson and Phoenix to help low-income students.

“Sometimes they expand the shelf life of the items that they do have access to,” Presley said. “If that happens, they’re at increased likelihood of UTIs, pelvic infections and things that can sometimes even be fatal, like toxic shock syndrome,” a rare condition related to overgrowth of bacteria.

Dana Marlowe, founder and director of I Support the Girls, a Maryland-based nonprofit that works with manufacturers to donate period supplies to other nonprofits, said that despite hourly requests for supplies, her group can’t meet the need for tampons right now.

Marlowe said one Scottsdale organization has reached out twice in the past week urgently requesting tampons for unhoused people, asylum-seekers and refugees in Arizona.

“It’s really hard as a nonprofit to walk into the warehouse, see the shelves are still bare, and know that we have to disappoint nonprofits and individuals, and we can’t get them products they need,” Marlowe said.

Since 2020, she has seen a 60% decrease in the number of donated tampons her group has been able to distribute. In January, donations fell even more sharply.

“What we donate is based on what we receive, so when we stopped receiving as many manufacturer donations, we thought this was coming,” Marlowe said.

In recent years, efforts to fight period poverty have prompted some states to eliminate sales taxes on period products. Arizona remains one of two dozen states that still tax these items, according to the advocacy group Period Law.

Several attempts to exempt tampons, pads, menstrual cups, disposable diapers and similar items from taxes have failed in the Arizona Legislature, including a 2022 bill sponsored by Rep. Daniel Hernandez, D-Tucson.

Jennifer Burns, senior director of government and media relations at the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers, said in a statement to Cronkite News that “the current supply shortages and inflation are increasing the cost and further limiting the access of some women to obtain products which are a necessity, not a luxury.”

Procter & Gamble and Edgewell have blamed the shortage on the increased cost of plastic and cotton as well as COVID-19 outbreaks that slowed manufacturing in the U.S. and Canada. A P&G spokeswoman also told Time that tampon sales had skyrocketed following a popular ad campaign featuring comedian Amy Schumer.

Hope Women’s Center, with several locations across Maricopa County, is a nonprofit helping vulnerable women and girls. In an email to Cronkite News, CEO Tammy Abernethy said she hasn’t heard women talking about the shortage yet but added that the organization has a supply of tampons available.

Did pandemic learning impact 2022 graduation rates?

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Finally, they’re back to the closest thing to normal.Three Desert View High School students closed the year on campus and maskless after three school years of pandemic impacted education.KOLD has been talking with Juniors Ariana Zuniga and Madisynn Marsh as well as Senior Christopher Flores throughout the school year.After many unexpected changes in direction, Flores finally stepped off the high school social, emotional, academic rollercoaster ride.“I’m like, &lsquo...

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Finally, they’re back to the closest thing to normal.

Three Desert View High School students closed the year on campus and maskless after three school years of pandemic impacted education.

KOLD has been talking with Juniors Ariana Zuniga and Madisynn Marsh as well as Senior Christopher Flores throughout the school year.

After many unexpected changes in direction, Flores finally stepped off the high school social, emotional, academic rollercoaster ride.

“I’m like, ‘how am I going to stay of top of this?’ And at times my grades were even slipping because of how tired I was, how late I was being in my assignments. And luckily though I was able to bounce back from it,” Flores said.

He’s one of three 2022 Class Valedictorians. The three way tie is a first for the district.

“Being back in person and seeing things in front of you has made it a lot easier,” Marsh said.

Motivation had been hard for the two juniors as schooling took unprecedented twists and turns moving from remote to hybrid back to remote since their Freshman year when that grade level is just learning how to navigate high school.

Many teachers in all grades had been more empathetic with assignment deadlines during the pandemic.

“I know they’ve really enabled the teachers to be able to do what they need to,” said Flores. “They’ve been flexible and a lot of teachers have done that.”

Other teachers pressured students this year to maintain or return to pre-pandemic rules.

“Especially in my A-P classes,” said Zuniga. “I don’t want to call any teachers out, but you know, AP US History, there’s so much work, but great teacher. I was able to realize that I can do this, you know countless hours of studying and doing this work.”

“I think we’ve rebounded. I think we’re coming back better. I think after being online, we’ve hit rock bottom and now we’re coming back up to even better,” Marsh said.

Learning improved with routines back in place and for many students a new appreciation for school.

That resilience appears to be reflected in the 2022 graduation rates at the traditional high schools in Sunnyside and other Southern Arizona districts.

The Sunnyside grad rate increased by 3%, from 86% in 2019 to 89% in 2022.

After contacting all districts, Tanque Verde, Flowing Wells, Nogales, Marana reported back with the same or better graduation rates than 2019.

Catalina Foothills fell slightly in 2022.

Two districts with fully online or non-traditional schools, Flowing Wells and Sunnyside, report a dramatic drop in grad rates: 24% in Flowing Wells and 11% in Sunnyside.

Sunnyside, the poorest district in the region, ended the year with a record number of college scholarship awards.

“Those are certainly encouraging that we’re somewhat back on track,” Superintendent Steve Holmes said.

He attributes that in part to the pressure the district put on students and staff to return to pre-pandemic rigor.

Many districts reported using varying strategies to tackle staff shortages, chronic absenteeism, and high rates of course failure.

“I feel like a few of my fellow classmates have definitely not rebounded. And they’re so used to being in a situation of like teachers being more lenient, because you know of the pandemic and of it’s a rough time,” Zuniga said.

Many districts relied on a controversial approach: credit recovery classes designed to help students avoid retaking courses or attending summer school.

Holmes will be looking into state assessment data, ACT scores, during the summer to help determine whether his district’s strategies worked.

“So that will be Junior year data, even though we’ve given ACT, this is the first time it’s going to be a statewide assessment. So that’s going to be interesting to see what that data looks like once they come in for our junior class,” Holmes said.

Meantime, this year Holmes boasts that he’s “very proud of this graduating class. I think they exceeded our expectations” helping to possibly put to rest concerns over the worth of this year’s high school diploma.

“A lot of people tell me ‘hey this diploma isn’t worth as much as the other ones because you had it easy during the pandemic’. Well, yeah, some things were easier to do like the homework, but the mental costs they came at was so substantial. The isolation, the self-reliance, it just took such a heavy mental hit on so many people that I think the cost balanced out,” Flores said.

Balanced out with new skills that have yet to be fully measured.

KOLD still waiting for graduation rates from the remaining Southern Arizona districts, including TUSD, the region’s largest school district.

Copyright 2022 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.

Former Southern Arizona standouts: 14 in Baseball Tournament and 6 in the Softball World Series

14 athletes from a high school in Southern Arizona are taking part in the NCAA Baseball Tournament slated to start this Friday. There are 56 in the field from the state of Arizona.Sahuarita has the most with four and Salpointe has three.For Softball, six athletes from Southern Arizona play for Arizona and there are nine total from Arizona.Ironwood Ridge has the most with three former athletes.BASEBALL PLAYOFFSARIZONAGeorge Arias, Tucson (Jr. RHP)Chris Barraza, Sahuarita (Jr. RHP)Drew Calloway, Sabino (Fr. L...

14 athletes from a high school in Southern Arizona are taking part in the NCAA Baseball Tournament slated to start this Friday. There are 56 in the field from the state of Arizona.

Sahuarita has the most with four and Salpointe has three.

For Softball, six athletes from Southern Arizona play for Arizona and there are nine total from Arizona.

Ironwood Ridge has the most with three former athletes.

BASEBALL PLAYOFFS

ARIZONAGeorge Arias, Tucson (Jr. RHP)Chris Barraza, Sahuarita (Jr. RHP)Drew Calloway, Sabino (Fr. LHP)

GONZAGACade McGee, Salpointe (Fr. RHP)

NEW MEXICO STATEAlex Bustamante, Canyon del Oro (Jr. RHP)Noah Estrella, Flowing Wells (Jr. RHP)Ryan Grabosch, Salpointe (So. C)Kevin Jimenez, Nogales (Jr. INF)Edwin Martinez-Pagani, Sahuarita (Jr. INF)Ian Mejia, Sahuarita (So. RHP)Brendon Rodriguez, Sahuarita (Gr. LHP)Jack Rogers, Salpointe (Fr. INF/OF)Jacob Wiltshire, Sabino (Fr. INF)

OREGON STATEBraden Boisvert, Empire (Jr. UT)

SOFTBALL WORLD SERIES

ARIZONABlaise Biringer, Cienega (So. INF)Devyn Netz, Ironwood Ridge (So. P/INF)Izzy Pacho, Ironwood Ridge (Jr. C/INF)Carlie Scupin, Tucson (So. INF)Allie Skaggs, Ironwood Ridge (So. UT)Bailey Thompson, Canyon del Oro (Gr. C)

Named one of “Arizona’s Heart & Sol” by KOLD and Casino del Sol, Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017 and a 2019 AZ Education News recognition. He was a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling and his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is a Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. He earned a Distinguished Service Award from Amphitheater and he was recognized by City Councilman Richard Fimbres. Contact Andy Morales at amoralesmytucson@yahoo.com

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