Cienega High School pitcher Alexa Cash carried a no-hit shutout into the seventh inning and struck out 14 Sahuaro hitters in a 7-3 win Friday, essentially securing the Class 4A Kino Region title for the red-hot Bobcats.
Cienega is 21-6 overall and 9-0 in league play. The Bobcats have won 13 straight. Second-place Sahuaro is 20-7 and 7-2 in Kino play.
Cash, who got the final nine outs of the game with strikeouts, said her familiarity with the Cougars, who they’ve played six times in the past two seasons, helped in Friday’s win.
“The coaches and catchers did a good job remembering what they could and couldn’t hit,” said Cash, whose no-hitter was broken up in the seventh by a single to left field by Sahuaro’s Morgan McKeever.
“They have really good hitters and they did a good job seeing the ball and coming through whenever they needed to in the seventh.”
Cienega gave Cash all the run support she needed in the first two innings. After scoring two in the first, the Bobcats added four in the second, chasing Sahuaro starting pitcher Courtney McCoy.
“I was going in saying I need to get it done for the team,” said Cienega’s Brittany Keiser, who finished 4 for 4 and scored three runs. “We used our momentum to keep on pushing today. We had to roll over them early.”
Sahuaro lost 4-3 in 13 innings to Cienega on Wednesday in the continuation of a game that started April 14 but was suspended in the 12th inning because of darkness.
Trailing 7-0 Friday heading into the final inning, Sahuaro began a rally with McKeever’s single and managed to score three runs before Cash shut the door.
“We had some shaky innings, but we did really well battling back,” McKeever said.
Jessica Schneider’s double into the alley scored two and she scored two batters later.
“We just had to come out and play hard,” Schneider said about the strong finish.
“I just wanted to get a hit, that’s what I was thinking about. When you’re down, you can’t fall, you have to pick yourself up and that’s what we did.”
Cienega won its 18th straight home game dating back to last year.
“The girls played really well and we always talk about how we can definitely get it done with the bats,” Bobcats coach Eric Tatham said. “We’re using this as a measuring stick for the state tournament coming up. There are some great teams out there and Sahuaro is one of them.”
Canyon del Oro 17, Catalina Foothills 0 (5 innings): At Foothills, Kenzie Fowler threw a one-hitter and the CDO bats came alive for a 10-run second inning in a 4A Sonoran Region blowout.
Flowing Wells 8, Nogales 0: At Flowing Wells, junior pitcher Danielle Burnette was two outs away from throwing a no-hitter, settling for a one-hit shutout.
High School Sports Editor Geoff Grammer contributed to this article.