Don Ketchum
Former Staff Writer,

Sahuaro's title another example of Tucson softball strength

March 22, 2014 by Don Ketchum, AZPreps365

Softball is alive and well for another year in talent-rich Tucson.

Tucson Sahuaro made the biggest statement thus far, besting Scottsdale Chaparral with a 10-0 victory in five innings (10-run rule) on Saturday night (March 22) in the championship game of the 17th Annual Desert Mountain Wolves Softball Invitational at Horizon Park in north Scottsdale.

“We played well all week long,’’ said Sahuaro coach Jeff Fowler, whose team defeated Chandler Hamilton and Tucson-area rival Canyon del Oro earlier in the day on Saturday to advance to the final. Sahuaro was 7-0 for the tournament.

“We pitched well and had timely hitting. It all came together.’’

One of the keys was the win over Canyon del Oro, Fowler said.

“They “10-runned’ us earlier in the season, so for us to come back and beat them . . . our girls understand what they are capable of,’’ he said.

Sahuaro didn’t waste much time in getting the jump on Chaparral, which had defeated Phoenix Horizon and Gilbert earlier in the day.

The Cougars scored twice in the first inning against Firebirds ace Dallas McBride. The runs came home on a single to center by catcher Amanda Nicholas.

Two more runs scored in the second on a run-scoring groundout by tournament MVP Amy Bergeson and a bloop single to right field by Hannah Gradillas.

Sahuaro made it 7-0 in the fourth with three more runs, two coming on a single by Andie Larkins.

Brooklyn Misenhimer ignited the decisive three-run fifth with a double on the first pitch. Following an error, Madison Wiley drove in a run with a single and Bergeson drove in a run with a single. Wiley then scored the game-winner on a sacrifice fly by Gradillas.

Meanwhile, Sahuaro freshman Lexy Coons was dominant in the pitching circle.

She gave up two hits and struck out six. Fowler had brought her up from the JV team to help ease the load on some of his other pitchers, but this effort could force him to keep her on the varsity. You can never have too much depth.