Desert Vista's softball team showed some versatility in taking command of the 6A Central Region softball race.
Last week it secured a 3-2 win over Desert Ridge scoring three times in the first inning and holding on. In the rematch Tuesday night the Thunder roared back from a 5-1 deficit to post an 8-5 win at Desert Ridge High School. Both schools were in the top 10 of the most recent 6A power rankings -- Desert Ridge at No. 6 and Desert Vista at No. 10. The top eight teams qualify for state and avoid play-in games teams 9-24 do not.
Kiara Kennedy drove in three runs and enjoyed a 3-for-3 day at the plate for Desert Vista (21-8 overall, 10-6 power rankings), including a tiebreaking solo homer in the fifth inning. Desert Vista also got a lift in the circle from sophomore Jackie Traughber, who pitched a perfect final three innings to save the win for Kendall Schwartz. (11-1). It was Traughber's fifth save to go with nine wins.
Desert Vista is now tied for the region lead at 6-2 with Desert Ridge (18-4, 12-4 prg), but the sweep gives the Thunder the tie-breaker should they remain deadlocked or end in a three-way tie with Desert Ridge and Corona del Sol. Corona del Sol is a game back at 5-3. Desert Vista closes the regular season with two games against Mountain Pointe. Desert Ridge has two games left with Gilbert.
The teams muddled through a sloppy first three innings. Desert Ridge scored all its runs in the second inning by way of two hits, a walk, a hit batter and four Desert Vista errors. That made it 5-1.
It took only four batters in Desert Vista's top of the third to even things. A walk to Mackenzie Moore and single by Kaylee Dietrich preceeded Kennedy's first hit -- a two-run single. Tia Craig followed attempting to bunt Kennedy to second. An errant throw to first rolled all the way to the right field corner and Kennedy and Craig scored to tie the game at 5.
Kennedy opened the fifth off Desert Ridge's Shaylee Ackerman with her towering homer to left for a 6-5 lead. Dietrich, who clouted the three-run homer in last Thursday's 3-2 win, singled home a run in the sixth. Rion Simms made it 8-5 in the seventh She doubled to open the inning and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Ackerman went the distance surrending 11 hits, four walks and striking out 12.
Dietrich and Taijah Ellison had two hits each for Desert Vista. Desert Ridge collected just four hits - one each for Leah Molina, Holly Monson, Hannah Pier and Lanie Palacios. Top hitters Alyssa Lyon and Ackerman were a rare combined 0-for-7.