4A Softball Semifinals
May 8, 2019 by Andy Morales, AZPreps365
We are down to six teams in the 4A softball playoffs with No. 1 Salpointe (23-4) and No. 6 Canyon del Oro (20-6) waiting in the semifinal round for an opponent to come out of the elimination phase of the third round. The Lancers won the 2018 4A state championship and Canyon del Oro won it all in 2017. The Lancers beat the Dorados 2-0 in the semifinal round last year before taking out Cactus 2-0 in the state championship game.
Cactus is seeded No. 2 this year and the Cobras (29-3) are taking on No. 12 Vista Grande in the elimination bracket for a shot at Canyon del Oro.
According to Cactus head coach Bartt Underwood, Alynah Torres moved to the leadoff spot and she leads the team with an .639 batting average with 59 RBI, 17 doubles and 18 home runs. Kayt Leyvas moved from leadoff to clean-up and she’s batting .600 with 45 RBI, 12 doubles and four home runs. McKenna Feringa is 15-0 in the circle.
No. 12 Vista Grande (17-8) upset No. 5 Coconino 11-2 in the first round before losing to No. 4 Mingus Union 5-1 in the second round. The Spartans went on to defeat No. 8 Douglas 12-2 to stay alive in the elimination bracket and the team will face Cactus next. Freshman Alyssa Tinnin is 17-7 from the circle.
The winner of Vista Grand and Cactus will have to defeat Canyon del Oro twice in the semifinal round.
“Senior Hope Banales is our lead off and sets the tone by getting on base or even hitting a homer,” Canyon del Oro head coach Kelly Fowler said. “Halle Morris and Amya Legarra have shared the pitching load this year and we have relied on both as hitters as well.
“We graduated nine players last year, so we definitely have a younger team this year. We have steadily been climbing together as it takes time for solid team chemistry to take place. This is the first time for many of the freshman to play with older girls and many did not even know each other. I realize that this is the case at every school, but in the last three years we graduated classes of eight, eight and then nine. This year the team has been scrappy fighters.”
On the other side of the bracket, No. 4 Mingus Union will face No. 3 Bradshaw Mountain for a shot at Salpointe. Mingus (25-8-1) failed to get out of the first round last year.
“Maddie Bejarano is having a great season, Mingus head coach John Brown said. “The UCF recruit has batted over .600 consistently and leads the region in home runs with 20. Alexis Ayersman, as a freshman, has batted over .500 and pitched with an ERA near 1.5. She pitched a gem against Bradshaw Mountain to hand them their only loss this season and hit a double to score two of the three runs we scored to beat them.
“Jasmine Shults. our junior catcher, has been nearly perfect behind the plate, throwing out nearly 95% of runners who try to steal on her and she compiled a BA of over .600 as our cleanup hitter.”
Bradshaw Mountain (33-2) also failed to get out of the first round last year.
“We return junior centerfielder Madisen Duryea She is still getting it done at the plate and is a game changer for us offensively,” Bradshaw Mountain head coach Sharon Haese said. “She currently is hitting .480 with 10 home runs.
“New additions include juniors Caitlynn Newl (Nebraska commit) and Jacie Hambrick (Grand Canyon University). Both pitchers have an overall record of 31-1, a combined ERA of 0.28, 351 strike outs, gave up eight earned runs all season and allowed only 20 runs scored against them.
The Lancers have outscored their opponents 33-2 in three games and none of them went the full seven innings. Anjolee Aguilar-Beaucage and Diana Montano have eight home runs each and sophomore Alyssa Aguilar is 20-3.