HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL PLAYOFFS
Cienega High School junior Alexa Cash was called on to do more than just pick up her 17th pitching win of the season Tuesday.
Fighting flulike symptoms, Cash not only pitched, but stepped into the lineup to hit after designated player Stephanie Tatham was taken to the hospital after taking a grounder to the face in pregame warm-ups.
Cash came through in both roles, striking out six and throwing a four- hitter to go along with hitting a two-run homer in a 5-2 win over Sahuaro to claim the Class 4A Kino Region tournament championship at Cherry Field.
“I feel so bad that Stephanie (got hurt), but I was excited and I just wanted to hit,” said Cash. “We have our first game on Saturday (in the state playoffs), so we really wanted to set the tone.”
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Cash belted a 2-1 pitch from Sahuaro’s Kaylee Prichett over the left field wall for her second home run of the season.
The Bobcats (24-6) will be the No. 1 seed in the 4A Division I state tournament. Brackets are expected to be released Wednesday.
Prichett picked up the loss for the Cougars after starting in the circle for Courtney McCoy, who fell ill a few hours before the game and was taken to the hospital, according to Sahuaro coach Steve Sanchez.
“She (Prichett) has to be able to answer the call,” Sanchez said. “She did a good job, we’re proud of her and we have to move on.”
Sahuaro will likely be the No. 6 seed in the tournament.
Canyon del Oro 4, Cholla 0: At Cherry Field, CDO ace Kenzie Fowler struck out 15 and threw a no-hitter, winning the fourth 4A Sonoran Region championship of her high school career.
Douglas 11, Sahuarita 1: After winning its first regular season softball region title in school history, Douglas followed up with a dominating win in the 4A Gila Region championship game at Cherry Field.
5A-I state playoffs
Sierra Vista Buena’s Carissa Youngblood hit a game-winning RBI single to right field in the bottom of the seventh inning, scoring Kaitlin Wilson, as the No. 4 Colts advanced in the 5A Division I winners’ bracket with a 2-1 win over No. 12 Scottsdale Desert Mountain.
Buena’s Shannel Blackshear broke a scoreless tie with a home run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Meghan McIntosh struck out 13 batters with no walks for the win.
The Colts will play No. 16 seed Phoenix Xavier on Saturday at Tempe Marcos de Niza High School.
No. 16 Rincon/University 10, No. 9 Surprise Willow Canyon 1: In the 5A-II elimination bracket, the Rangers prevailed behind Mercedes Garcia, who went 4 for 4 with four RBIs and Kelsi Redding who struck out 10 batters.
Rincon plays No. 4 seed Yuma Cibola at the Rose Mofford Softball Complex in Phoenix at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.