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Cienega ace strikes out 15 as squad beats Saguaro

Citizen Staff Writer



Alexa Cash wasn’t feeling well Tuesday. In fact, she hasn’t been 100 percent in her last three starts for Cienega.

Still, as she did in her 16-strikeout performance Saturday in a 10-0 win over Glendale Apollo, Cash didn’t allow her health to stop her from dominating.

Cash allowed three hits and struck out 15 Tuesday, leading No. 1 Cienega to a 5-0 win over No. 9 Scottsdale Saguaro in the Class 4A Division I quarterfinals.

“I haven’t been feeling too well,” Cash said. “I am not sure what it is, but I wanted to go today.”

Cienega coach Eric Tatham had backup pitcher Brittany Johnson ready to go in case Cash wasn’t able to go.

Her teammates made things easy on her in the fifth inning, scoring four runs. Three of those came from an inside-the-park home run by leadoff hitter Brittany Keiser.

“That’s what is great about Alexa,” Tatham said. “Once she gets staked to a lead, she’s cash money.”

Keiser was equally impressed.

“She was sick all day and having to throw that game was amazing,” Keiser said. “I don’t know of anybody that can do that.”

Cienega plays No. 12 Catalina Foothills in Thursday’s 6:30 p.m. semifinal at University of Arizona’s Hillenbrand Stadium.

Fowler throws 4th straight no-hitter

In the fourth inning Tuesday, Kenzie Fowler and Canyon del Oro were working on a fourth straight no-hitter and the all-world pitcher had struck out all 11 Glendale Cactus batters she had faced.

The hard windup and . . .

The ball went sailing vertically out of her hand, landing behind her.

It was a strange twist of imperfection for the reigning Gatorade National Player of the Year, who didn’t allow a hit Tuesday in an 8-0 win over No. 7 Glendale Cactus in the 4A-I quarterfinals.

“I haven’t done that since I was 10,” Fowler said of the mishap.

The no-hitter for Fowler and No. 2 CDO extends to four her streak of no hitters, including two games in which she threw perfect games (no hits, no walks, no errors). Fowler struck out 16 hitters in her final game at CDO.

Adding to her domination, she was 4-for-4 at the plate with three RBIs and stole a base. She walked two, giving extra notice that she is human, not bionic.

“She never surprises me,” said head coach and former CDO banner player Amy Swiderski. “She works as hard as any pitcher I’ve seen.”

Fowler said afterward she isn’t interested in keeping up the no-hit streak.

“We don’t know stats,” said Fowler. “The coaches take care of that.”

CDO’s Taylor Watkins doubled and tripled and scored twice for the Dorados, who play No. 3 Scottsdale Chaparral at Phoenix’s Rose Mofford Park in Thursday’s 4A-I semifinals.

No. 12 Catalina Foothills 11, No. 4 Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor 4: At Phoenix, Foothills pulled off its second road upset in the playoffs, setting up Thursday’s semifinal with Cienega.

No. 3 Scottsdale Chaparral 1, No. 6 Sahuaro 0: At Scottsdale, Sahuaro, last year’s 4A-I runner-up, finished the season with a 22-8 record.

Class 4A Division II

No. 12 Gilbert Perry upset No. 4 Douglas, 6-2, in the 4A-II quarterfinals in Douglas. The Bulldogs ended the season 29-4.

Junior pitcher Erika Tapia finished the season with a 25-2 record and 217 strikeouts.

Girls Tennis

The Pusch Ridge girls tennis team beat Thatcher 5-4 to advance to Friday’s Class 2A/3A tennis semifinals against Phoenix Country Day at the Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale.

The doubles team of Sami Towne and Tanya Hetlinger won the No. 2 match to seal it for Pusch Ridge 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

Boys golf

Immaculate Heart’s Ian Patterson shot a two-round 144 for a fourth-place finish Tuesday in the 1A/2A boys golf state championship. Pusch Ridge’s Lou Christensen (146) was fifth.

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