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Gila Ridge baseball wins multiple region honors

Gila Ridge High School baseball finished off one of its best regular seasons with multiple end-of-season honors as voted on by the Arizona Interscholastic Association 4A Southwest Region coaches.

Pitcher Dale Tshigg was voted as the Region Player of the Year, after compiling an 8-1 record with a 1.74 ERA in 60 innings pitched to go along with 71 strikeouts. Tshigg, a sophomore, also provides a presence at the plate, hitting in the middle of the batting order for the Hawks. He batted .526 in region play with a dozen RBIs. GRHS baseball celebrates winning regional title.

Senior catcher Ryan Hoskins was voted as the Region Defensive Player of the Year, following a spectacular season behind the plate. Hoskins threw out 11 base stealers and picked off seven other runners from first base.

Head Coach James Kuzniak, who completed his second season in the role, was also voted as the Region Coach of the Year after leading the Hawks to their first-ever 4A Southwest Region Championship. Kuzniak’s team finished 17-7 overall and advanced to the 4A State Playoffs after defeating Walden Grove, 7-1, in a play-in game on Wednesday, Apr. 24.  

The Hawks baseball field was also a winner, being voted as the Region Field of the Year, for the first time in school history. Facilities director James Lagunas and head baseball groundskeeper David Villalobos are responsible for the daily upkeep and grooming of the field.

As for the All-Region teams, Jordan Canales, Erik Flores, Blake Avila, Tshigg and Hoskins were voted as First Team selections. Flores, a junior third baseman, batted .468 and was the only unanimous choice for first team, while Blake Avila was runner up for Offensive Player of the Year.

Second team selections for the Hawks were Sam Miner, Gage McLeod and Walker Mellon. A trio of Hawks were voted as Honorable Mention selections, Andres Cota, Joey Dressler, Taylor James Moreno and Dominik Avila.

“I could not be prouder of our team this season. They really exceeded everyone’s expectations except for their own,” Kuzniak said. “This group of guys were not only great on the field, but they are even better people off the field. Winning these awards shows how much of a team effort this was all the way around, from our amazing grounds crew of James and David to each player on the roster.”

In two seasons under Kuzniak, the Hawks have gone 33-20. He is the second head coach in school history, serving several years as an assistant under longtime head coach Greg Osowski, who retired after the 2017 season. The 2019 season marked the fifth time since Gila Ridge’s first varsity season in 2008 that the team has reached the playoffs. Their last appearance in the postseason came in 2016.  

Eric Patten