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Cam Caminiti leads Saguaro to first baseball state title since 2011

May 13—Saguaro senior Cam Caminiti felt he didn't bring his best stuff to the mound Monday night against Canyon Del Oro for the 4A state title.

The scoreboard said otherwise.

Caminiti, who reclassified this year to graduate early and enter the MLB Draft where he will likely be a top 10 pick this summer, allowed just two hits and one run against the two-time defending champion Dorados. Even with good pitching on the CDO side, Saguaro found a way to outlast the team they lost to in the same game a year ago.

"Especially coming off of last year, we talked about a revenge tour," Saguaro Head Coach Joe Muecke said. "This put an exclamation point on a unicorn type of season."

The 2-1 win by the Sabercats completed what Muecke called a revenge tour of sorts for his team. For 365 days they thought about last year's loss, vowing to return to the title game and handle business with Caminiti on the mound.

He was dealing early, not allowing a hit until the fourth inning. Ironically, Canyon Del Oro senior pitcher Grant Young was the one to break it up. A few batters later, Michael Chop drove in what was the tying run at the time.

Caminiti went on to retire every batter thereafter, some with strikeouts and others with grounders or pop flies to the shallow outfield.

He finished the night with 11 strikeouts in total. And most importantly, a state title.

"We battled and we really wanted to beat those guys today," Caminiti said. "We've done it time and time again. We're grinders, we battle. I might not have had my best stuff but we got the job done as a team and that's all that matters."

Muecke said he told his team before the game they wanted to be aggressive right away against Young and the Dorados. They chased pitches, connecting on many. Sophomore catcher Alain Gomez drove in a run in the first inning to give Saguaro a one-run cushion.

The lead held until the fourth, when Young broke up the no-hitter bit by Caminiti and Chop the scoreless bid on a liner to center field.

The two teams went scoreless from there until the bottom of the sixth.

Canyon Del Oro made a pitching change after the Sabercats had runners at second and third with just one out. Louis Busseri stepped up to the plate and hit what he believed was a grounder that would sneak through the infield. However, Canyon Del Oro's shortstop made a diving stop and made an off target throw to home.

Busseri reached first on a fielder's choice. Saguaro scored a run in the process.

It wasn't how he pictured helping his team take the lead to ultimately win the title, but he was pleased, nonetheless.

"Off the bat I thought it was through, but I saw him make the diving play, I was watching it all the way," Busseri said. "It's just pure happiness. Cam deserved the run, he deserved the win, he pitched so well. I'm just happy we got it for him, however we got it."

Caminiti went on to strikeout a batter and force to fly outs to end the game. He was mobbed by his teammates after.

His future is bright in the big leagues. Perhaps one of the highest-rated players to ever come out of Arizona. But winning the state title with his team against the team that ended their season last year in heartbreak is a memory that will forever live at the forefront of his mind, no matter how much success comes his way down the road.

"I looked at it as, either we lose and I'm not going to remember it forever or we win and I'm going to remember it forever," Caminiti said. "We finally did it. Did it for coach Muecke, did it for everyone here."

Saguaro's run to the title came behind stellar outings from its pitching staff.

Cade Shumard had two no-hitters in the postseason. Caminiti pitched twice against some of the toughest competition in 4A. Billy Gregory also came in to pitch for the Sabercats, too.

Muecke said that was key to this year's run.

"We didn't have to go to the bullpen a whole lot," Muecke said. "That's a champagne problem to have for a coach."

Have an interesting story? Contact Zach Alvira at (480)898-5630 or zalvira@timespublications.com. Follow him on Twitter @ZachAlvira.