(Tucson, AZ) Bill McCulloch
Playing at neutral Aztec Stadium on the West Campus of Pima Community College, the two softball giants of central Tucson and Oro Valley headed into this playoff match having split the first two meetings. The visiting team winning both games.
Canyon Del Oro came out fast with a one out double by Hope Banales. Senior catcher A.J. Kaiser followed with a single to right field, but Banales was held at third base.
Amaya Leggara hit a sharp grounder to the shortstop for an RBI on a fielders choice. Dorados had scored first and led 1-0.
Salpointe went quietly in the second, but the in the top of the third after an opening strikeout, ASU bound Yannira Acuña singled to center and promptly stole second base.
Head Coach Amy Rocha’s daughter Malaea Rocha was safe on an infield hit.
The Lady Lancers tied the score off the bat of Diana Montaño who singled in Acuña.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Dorados stranded Ellessa Bonstrom at second after her one out double.
In the fourth, Salpointe took the lead with a three run inning with a lead off double by Giselle Muñoz followed by an infield single and a walk to load the bases.
Acuña singled in Muñoz and kept the bases loaded when Anjolee Aguilar-Beaucage got the big two run hit to center capping off a three run inning and giving the Lady Lancers a 4-1 lead.
CDO got back a run in their half of the fourth from a one out double from Mia Campos, an infield hit by Anya Gonzalez when the first baseman failed to tag her going by and no one was covering the bag.
Kaylani Felix layed down a perfect bunt where the only play was to first base scoring Campos and cutting the lead to 4-2.
Mikayla Santa Cruz lead off the fifth on an error by Lancer shortstop Montaño and CDO had runners on first and second after Bonstrom singled to center.
Canyon Del Oro Coach Kelly Fowler signaled a bunt play which was executed to perfection by Hope Banales to move both runners into scoring position.
The Dorados had the player they wanted at the plate in Kaiser who didn’t disappoint as she hit a sharp grounder past the third baseman and into left field to score two runs and tie the score at four apiece.
Aguilar-Beaucage wasted no time in the top of the seventh when she powered a hit to left field that the left fielder took a poor angle and wasn’t able to cut the ball off in the gap resulting in a double. She advanced to third base on a groundout. A sacrifice fly scored the final run off the bat of Kimmy McDaniels.
All the Lancers had to do was hold on but a stubborn CDO team led off their final at bats with a double to left center by Bonstrom, her third hit of the game. The Dorados went quietly the next three batters to come up on the short end of the rubber game 5-4.
Salpointe will continue their playoff quest in the winners bracket on May 10th, while the Dorados must fight their way through the competitors bracket on the 8th.