Maggie Thurston was less than perfect in Chaparral's 3-1 5A non-region victory over Williams Field on Wednesday afternoon at Jeff Oscarson Field. Only a tad less than perfect.
Thurston made life mighty easy for coach Mike Stoffey in this one. She tossed a perfect game through the first six innings before surrendered a hit and a run and supplied all the Firebirds' offense with a home run and single as Chaparral protected its No. 5 ranking in the latest soffball power rankings.
Chaparral improved to 16-8 overall and 9-2 in power-ranking games. Much of the Firebirds remaiining schedule is 5A Northeast Valley Region play against Arcadia (No. 6), North Canyon (34) and Paradise Valley (41). The games likely deciding the region champion are April 13 and April 18 against Arcadia. Chaparral has already defeated Notre Dame Prep (No. 29) handily twice.
Williams Field is 10-7 overall and 6-4 in prg. The Black Hawks are in a tougher region top to bottom with Queen Creek (No. 7), Mesquite (11), Vista Grande (16) and Campo Verde (25). All those schools have winning power-ranking records.
Thurston took full advantage of a large strike zone both pitchers enjoyed. She displayed outstanding command finishing with 13 strikeouts. Nine of those Ks were looking. The only hit Thurston allowed was a single up the middle by Williams Field leadoff hitter Natalie Castro. Williams Field's next hitter, pinch-hitter Tionna James reached on an error putting Thurston in a jam.
She responded by getting a shallow fly out to left, an RBI ground out to second by Berlin Colvin and called third strike on Tianna Boone with the tying run on base.
Thurston's counterpart, Tara Boone gave up five hits -- the damaging ones a solo homer to Thurston in the first and a two-run single by Thurston in the fifth. Boone's effort was certainly good enough to win on a normal day, but Thurston was anything but normal.
"She's good pitcher, very good," Williams Field coach Kerry Reeder said. "The zone was big, but we had a chance to hit one of the three strikes every at-bat. We didn't make the adjustments we needed to."