Desert View coach Bert Otero knows he can always count on senior pitcher Saby Romero in the circle.
Romero got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning to help her team beat Tucson High 7-3 in five innings of a time-shortened game Wednesday afternoon in pool play of the Badger Invitational at the newly-renovated Cherry Field.
Pool play games in the tournament are on a strict time limit.
“We’re young. We have some freshmen and sophomores in the lineup,” Otero said. “I’m excited for our kids because they came out and beat a good team.”
He praised his veteran pitcher for working herself out of tough situations.
“Saby is a hard worker and she got behind in some of the counts,” he said. “The thing about her is she battled and I think that is the key.”
Her team picked up four runs in the fourth inning, but Romero faced trouble in the fifth.
Tucson High’s Alejandra Ortiz walked to lead off the inning and moved to second base on an Adriana Valencia single. Two batters later, Ortiz scored when teammate Aneeza Bracamonte reached base on an error.
“I had my defense to back me up and my offense came through for me,” Romero said. “We’ve always had good games with Tucson High, but I knew we were going to come through.”
The Badgers, who won the tournament last year, kept Romero busy through the first inning, starting out with five straight walks that led to the Badgers first run.
He was pleased with the walks, but Tucson High coach Marcos Bejarano said the squad must do better at driving in its base runners.
“We left 10 runners on base,” Bejarano said. “We couldn’t come up with key hits when we needed them. (Romero) threw 11 walks, but her teammates were behind her and they took care of business when they had to.”
Korina Wilkins put the game out of reach when her single scored two runs to make it 7-2 in the fourth.
“I knew I had to get the runner in. I was thinking about doing what I could,” Wilkins said.
“I thought it was going to be a close game. This gives us a lot of confidence.”
Pool play in the invitational continues Thursday at Cherry Field with bracket play of the 12-team event running Friday and Saturday.
Catalina 14, Baboquivari 5 (5 innings): Catalina scored nine runs in the first two innings and used a 15-hit performance to overcome four errors and win its first pool-play game in the Badger Invitational.
Pitcher Andrea Hargis picked up the win and helped her cause with a triple and three RBIs.
- High School Sports Editor Geoff Grammer contributed to this article.