HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL
PHOENIX – Kenzie Fowler continued her domination of Arizona high school softball and extended her high school career one final game.
No. 2 Canyon del Oro defeated No. 3 Scottsdale Chaparral 6-0 at Rose Mofford Park on Thursday, giving the Dorados a spot in Saturday’s Class 4A Division I state championship.
Fowler allowed two hits and struck out 15 with no walks, ending a four-game no-hitter streak that earned her ESPN Rise Magazine National High School Athlete of the Week honors earlier in the day.
“As a team, we were ready from the first inning,” said Fowler, who has struck out 74 in the past five games. “When you are that focused, great things happen.”
Fowler improved to 14-1 in state playoff games, having lost in the 2006 state championship to Glendale Cactus as a freshman. Her CDO career record is 104-8.
Chaparral pitcher Rae Ball kept the Firebirds in the game, allowing four hits and one run – a third-inning RBI by Kayla Henry – until the sixth frame, when the Dorados’ offense caught up with her.
CDO (32-2) knocked in five runs off six hits. Taylor Watkins batted in two; Lindsey Weldon, Valerie Mendoza and Felicia Devine each hit in one.
“As a pitcher that’s huge,” Fowler said. “You can’t really ask for anything else when your team steps up that big.”
The run support took any possible seventh-inning pressure off of the star pitcher. Fowler promptly struck out the final three.
“We always want to slam the door on the other team as quickly as we can,” CDO head coach Amy Swiderski said. “It was not only momentum for this game, but it was momentum taking us into the next game.”
CDO will face No. 1 Cienega at University of Arizona Hillenbrand Stadium on Saturday at 6 p.m., giving Fowler, who signed to play for the Wildcats, an opportunity to pitch her final high school game where she’ll pitch for the next four years.
“There’s nothing better,” Swiderski said. “We have all these kids (who) have been growing up dreaming about playing on that field. How cool is that?”
It won’t be easy. Cienega beat CDO 1-0 at Cienega on March 30.
In the game, Fowler threw a one-hitter. The run was unearned.
High school sports editor Geoff Grammer contributed to this article.
4A-I SOFTBALL TITLE GAME
Who: No. 1 Cienega (27-6) vs. No. 2 Canyon del Oro (32-2)
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: UA’s Hillenbrand Stadium