Apaches win helps Nogales community heal after tragic loss

Apaches win helps Nogales community heal after tragic loss
Flags beyond the outfield fence fly at half staff during Saturday's game (Source: Tucson News Now).

NOGALES, AZ (Tucson News Now) - As the sun set over War Memorial Park, the Nogales Apaches were in the lead.

It was small glimmer of hope after one of the city's darkest days happened on Friday, when Officer Jesus Cordova was killed.

"A lot of people knew Officer Cordova. We were kind of concerned about it, sad about it, mad about it," said Luis Caballero, a Nogales resident.

After such a tragic loss, the Apaches told Tucson News Now it was a no brainer. They knew what they had to do.

The game against Greenway High School was dedicated in honor of Officer Cordova. Flags were flown at half staff in tribute.

O.J. Favela, Head Coach of the Apaches said, "We just thought, let's give them something to smile about, even if it's just for a little while."

Coming up with the idea was very much a team effort.

Marcel Bachelier was among the players who thought of what it could do for those hurting from this tragedy.

Bachelier said, "When you play for a reason, a purpose, you know - winning a game like this isn't so much about winning the game. It's more about playing for the city, the family, everyone that comes out and supports us."

With each hit and successful run, the cheers from fans in the stands said it all. Saturday night's win against Greenway means a lot to the community.

It gave the community something to celebrate.

Kristy Beach, a Nogales resident said, "It's something positive that they worked hard for. Hopefully it gives the community something to take their mind off what happened yesterday."

Moving on from the tragedy won't happen overnight.

The community and the team know that, but they also know to channel those emotions and honor Officer Cordova in upcoming games.

The defending Conference 4A champions beat visiting Greenway 4-1. Bachelier drove in a pair of runs on a two-run triple.

The Apaches bullpen of Gerrard Martinez and Markie Lopez held the Demons hitless over the final three and a third innings.

Top-seed Nogales (25-4) takes on Salpointe Catholic (17-11) on Monday in the second round of the state baseball tournament.

Copyright 2018 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

David Kelly contributed to this story.