Two of Arizona’s premiere high school pitchers put on a show for softball fans in Sierra Vista on Tuesday afternoon.
Reigning Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year Kenzie Fowler struck out 15 in a complete-game no-hitter, leading Canyon del Oro to a 3-0 win over host Buena High School.
For the Colts, senior Meghan McIntosh threw seven innings of one-hit ball, striking out 14 and not allowing an earned run. Each pitcher walked one batter.
“It was as good a pitcher’s duel as you’ll see anywhere,” said Buena coach Mike Tomooka, whose Colts fell to 7-3-1 on the season.
CDO (13-0) took advantage of three Buena errors and scored each of its three unearned runs in the top of the fourth inning.
Sophomores Taylor Watkins and Kayla Henry reached base to start the inning when bunts were mishandled by Buena infielders. McIntosh, who has signed to play at Wisconsin next year, then struck out the University of Arizona-bound Fowler for the first out.
CDO power-hitting third baseman Katie Asher, who will play collegiately at Oklahoma State, reached base on Buena’s third error of the inning, scoring Watkins in the process for a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, freshman Valerie Mendoza drove in Asher and Henry with a two-out, two-run single to right-center field for the 3-0 lead.
Douglas 10, Cholla 1: At Douglas, Erica Tapia improved to 7-1 on the season as the Douglas junior struck out 13. Third baseman Katie Cambell hit a home run for Douglas (9-2).
Catalina High baseball coach Tony Gabusi is reaping the benefits of watching 15-year-old pitcher Nicco Blank mature.
Blank, a sophomore right-hander, allowed one hit in six innings to lead the Trojans to a 7-1 win over Pueblo on Tuesday at Catalina.
“He only gave up the one hit. He scuffled with himself a little bit,” Gabusi said. “That’s a 15-year-old. He’s a little immature (at times) but he’s mature enough to gather himself and come back. I am proud of that. He’s growing up a lot. He has been a horse for us.”
Blank gave up a single to Brian Ortega in the second inning. Pueblo scored an unearned run in the fourth on a wild pitch.
“I was just trying to hit spots,” Blank said. “I wasn’t trying to blow it by them.”
Blank was surprised he issued just one walk.
“I usually hit a couple of guys,” he said. “I am surprised I didn’t hit someone. I try to improve each time I go out. Last time I hit a lot of guys and this time I didn’t hit anyone.”
The offense for Catalina (9-4) helped the young pitcher with 14 base hits. Frank Daniel led the assault, going 4-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs.
“Frankie is smoking the ball. He has 27 RBIs now,” Gabusi said. “That’s his ninth double. He comes up in a position where they have to pitch to him. They are going to stop pitching to him, but we’ll just move him around in the lineup.”
Daniel had a run-scoring double to ignite a five-run fifth inning.
Cienega 2, Sahuarita 1 (8 innings): At Cienega, Mario Sanchez threw one pitch and pitched up the win after Cienega starter Seth Mejias-Brean threw 7 2/3 of three-hit, one-run ball for the Bobcats.
By Ken Brazzle, Geoff Grammer