It wouldn't be mistaken for championshiip caliber play, but Mountain Ridge and Highland brought an exciting opener just the same to Tuesday afternoon's 20th annual Desert Mountain Softball Invitational at Horizon Park.
The game was decided in two extra innings with Mountain Ridge's Payton Alsobrooks belting a grand slam in the top of the seventh for what would be the decisive hit in a 15-13 triumph over Highland.
One box score had the teams combining for all those runs, 30 hits and 13 errors. There were a couple of clean innings and couple innings the coaches would not want to own up to, but in the end fans were treated well in the 90-degree heat that greeted them.
Mountain Ridge (7-4) never led in the game until the final inning. The Mountain Lions trailed 7-0 after the first inning and 9-1 after two. It was tied at 10 after five innings -- Mountain Ridge struck for six in the third and three in the fifth -- when a tournament time limit intervened. The teams got to play one normal extra innning that didn't unlock the tie so the next inning brought on use of the international tie-breaker -- the last out of the prior inning placed on second base for each team in its at-bat.
Mountain Ridge's MacKenzie Whitten laced an RBI double to give the Mountain Lions an 11-0 lead in the seventh. After an infield single by Ashley Williams, her fourth hit of the game, Alsobrooks launched a no-doubt-slam to left for a 15-10 advantage.
Highland (4-7) didn't give in. The Hawks battled for three runs in their final at bat and had the tying run a the plate in Caitlyn Garcia, who had three hits in her earlier four at-bats. Garcia lined out to short to end the game.
Alsobrooks finished with five RBI adding a double. Whitten had three hits and two RBI. Baily Beuchat, Alexis Murray and Alyssa Beavers added two hits apiece for Mountain Ridge.
Highland's Jenna Earl and Megan McCamman collected two hits each and Earl and Bailee Snyder knocked in two runs each.
Mountain Ridge made it a great day all around by winning its second non-bracket game, 5-4, over Horizon. Mountain Ridge scored twice in its final at-bat to win.
Other Day 1 scores from the tournament: Hamilton 11, Corona del Sol 4; Pinnacle 2, Sahuaro 0; Desert Vista 14, Campo Verde 0; Chandler 9, Desert Mountain 5; Basha 5, Sahuaro 4; Chaparral 3, Centennial 1; Ironwood Ridge 15, Chandler 3; Pinnacle 12, Basha 0; Shadow Ridge 11, Campo Verde 3; Hamilton 7, Horizon 1; Ironwood Ridge 11, Desert Mountain 10.