2022 AIA Playoffs: Bracket Breakdown

Paul Panaccione
Arizona Scouting Director

We're coming down to the wire here in the 2022 AIA Baseball Playoffs, and the action has not been a disappointment. We've seen upsets, low score games, high scoring games, and come from behind wins. Teams and individual plays have been competing at a high level, with some players improving their stock.

There is no doubt that whoever comes out on top at each level, went through a tough road and has earned every bit of it. Let's take a deeper look into the remaining teams.


6A Bracket

We're down to the final 6 teams in the 6A bracket. 3 teams remain alive on each side of the bracket. In the A-Bracket, Queen Creek will take on Hamilton on 5/10 6:30pm @ Diablo Stadium. And in the B-Bracket, Perry takes on Sandra Day O'Connor at 4:30 in Diablo Stadium. These are both win or go home games that will put the winner in the semi finals. The winner of the A-Bracket losers bracket will take on Chaparral, and must take them down twice. B-Bracket losers bracket winner will square off against Chandler, with the task of knocking them off twice.

Coming out of the winners bracket is a clear advantage, but it is still anybodies contest. Each of these 6 teams still standing have what it takes to win a title this year, and it's going to be a fun ride.

The Unbeaten

#8 Chaparral

Chap has gotten hot at the right time! They've gone through some tough opponents, and their upperclassmen have stepped up when they needed to. Sr RHP Andrew Carroll (Arizona commit) spun a gem vs the #1 ranked Hamilton. Carroll went the distance, putting a stamp on that victory with the complete game shutout. Carroll missed a majority of the year on the mound, and it is great to see him out there finding a groove when it matters most. Sr 1B and big bat Aidan Young (Central AZ commit) took the biggest swing of the playoffs thus far, with his game tying 3 run homer against Queen Creek in the 7th inning. Chap went on to win this contest. With their first round matchup being against Tucson High, Chap has made their way through a gauntlet of a schedule, and it's not over yet, as they will have to take on one of the teams they've already beaten with a chip on their shoulder.





#6 Chandler

Chandler has been a very exciting and confident group for the seasons length. They have a skilled lineup from top to bottom, and a pitching staff that can get outs against any lineup they're put up against. Chandler has gone through Brophy, Mountain Ridge, Perry, and are awaiting their next matchup. Uncommitted 2022 Tate Scott continues to swing the bat at a high level. And Chandler Gilbert commits Daniel Hutchison, Kyle Sleconich, and Aiden Shumaker have been leading them to success on the mound. This high powered offense with a steady pitching staff is no doubt a challenge for any team to have to go through twice. Perry/Sandra Day O'Connor will have their hands full. 



5A Bracket

We're down to the final 6 in the 5A bracket as well. Same outline as the 6A bracket. Each unbeaten team must be beaten twice by the teams with the losses. Our next upcoming games for 5A are tonight at Diablo Stadium, as we will see Desert Mountain take on Sunrise Mountain in a win or go hime game at 4pm. Following this matchup, we will see #2 seeded Horizon face the team that put them into the losers bracket, Casteel. 2024 LHP Mason Russell threw an outstanding game against Horizon their last time out, and it is likely Horizon will see Russell again. 

The Unbeaten

#1 Nogales

Nogales has been at the top of the 5A Division for the entire year and have shown no sign of slowing down. The Apaches are our favorite to win the 5A title, as their pitching staff has proven to be among the strongest in the state. In a tournament with this length, pitching becomes a premium and Nogales has that. Roman Bracamonte, Saul Soto, and Sal Valenzuela are 3 D1 arms on this staff, with help from others as well. Not only do they have arms, but they're also outscoring opponents by 200 runs this year. Things have just really come together for this group and they are playing fun, clean, and exciting baseball here in the post season. With some draft buzz around Demetrio Crisantes and Roman Bracamonte, the Apaches have become must see stuff as one of the most exciting teams in town. 




#3 Verrado

The Verrado Vipers have put together a very nice season, coming out of one of the top regions at the 5A level with Millennium and Canyon View. The Vipers took both regular season series between Millennium and Canyon View, taking home the region title. And they seem to be riding that high through the post season. They remain unbeaten as they've gone through: Marana, Catalina Foothills, and Casteel leading them to this point. It will be no easy task for them in their next round, as they match up with one of the scariest teams in this tournament. Verrado was able to knock off Casteel and send them to the losers bracket, and will either take them on again, or the sleeping giant in Horizon. Their next matchup will definitely be one to watch as the Vipers will be rested and at full strength to record one more win to reach the state finals. 




4A Bracket

We're down to the final 4 in the 4A Division. The teams left standing are Canyon Del Oro, Mesquite, Walden Grove, and Salpointe Catholic. This bracket is being dominated by the teams from Southern Arizona, and it's been that way for the entire year. Mesquite is the lone team from the Phoenix area still alive, and they will have to go through CDO two times to advance. On the other side of the bracket, Walden Grove will have to beat Salpointe two times. Mesquite and Walden Grove are tow very talented teams with the ability to take two consecutive, but their opponents are no slouch and remain unbeaten for a reason. 

The Unbeaten

#4 Canyon Del Oro

Canyon Del Oro has shown they're one of the teams to beat at the 4A level. They've had an outstanding year, playing high competition, beating that high competition, and they're playing well on both ends. This is a team that can bet you in a low scoring game, or in a slugfest. This matchup vs Mesquite will be a very interesting one, as the last time they squared off it ended in a 2-1 Dorados victory. CDO has gone through Lee Williams, Mesquite, and Poston Butte to get where they're at now. Poston Butte and Mesquite are two of the scarier teams at this level and CDO has handled their business to this point. Behind 2022 ace pitcher Marcus Delgado, 2022 two-way threats Dom Felix and Blake Lehmbeck, the Dorados have great senior leadership and a group of guys that love to play together.


#3 Salpointe Catholic

The Lancers remain unbeaten on their side of the bracket and face off against Tucson rival Walden Grove, who will have to knock them off twice to advance. Salpointe is a very solid group of players with a mixture of veteran leadership and skilled youth. 2022 SS Mason White holds it down at the top of their order and in the middle of their infield. White is headed to the University of Arizona following this season, and he has shown skill with the bat, along with high IQ and talent at the SS position. Pima commit Robert Lopez is the ace of the staff with a (5-2) record and 2.23 ERA on the season. The Lancers 3 main arms this year all have a sub 3 ERA and will put them in a good spot to win a game. You never like to look ahead in the playoffs, but if we see a CDO vs Salpointe title matchup, buckle up, it will be a good one. 


3A Bracket

The 3A level is down to the final four, where each side will play a 3 game series to decide who reaches the state title game. In the final four, we will see matchups between #4 Valley Christian and #1 Northwest Christian, and #2 ALA Gilbert vs #3 Yuma Catholic. 

Valley Christian has some skilled players that are going to look to take down the #1 team in the state. 2023 Hunter Heerenga has had a fantastic year on both sides of the ball. 2025 Caleb Danzeisen has put up moster numbers offensively in just his freshmen season. Northwest Christian is led by 2024 SS Gunner Penzkover and 2022 ace pitcher and Scottsdale CC commit Dale Fry. 




On the other side of the bracket we'll see Yuma Catholic and their ace Issac Araiza (SDSU commit). Yuma Catholic has a high powered offense with a clear ace on the mound in Araiza. Freshmen left hander Mickey Fox has also shown well this season, and help from other big bats. ALA Gilbert has found an ace in 2022 Dawson Morris, with a .98 ERA over 50 innings pitched. And are led offensively by 2024 Hayden Clegg (.438) and 2022 Spencer Nielson (.432).


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