Softball: Campo Verde poised late in 4-2 win over Mesquite

March 12, 2016 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

Campo Verde softball coach Joe Delsante was quite confident his team was on the way to the championship of the Blackhawk Invitational after the Coyotes presented sophomore pitcher Myka Sutherlin with a 4-0 lead in the top of the fifth.

That confidence was well-founded, but needed reassurance a couple times during the final nine outs.

Campo Verde withstood a Mesquite rally in the bottom of the fifth and Sutherlin survived a couple tough moments in the bottom of the seventh on Saturday afternoon as the Coytoes claimed a 4-2 victory at Williams Field High School. Sutherlin was named the tournament's MVP.  She pitched 18 innings going 3-0 with a one-hitter and no-hitter (both shutouts) prior to the title game. She fanned 28 batters over the three games. 

"Going to the final three innings I really felt Myka was superpfocused," Delsante said. "I could tell by her demeanor. She had a great tournament and pitched through a tough last inning."

Campo Verde ran its record to 11-5 and went 5-0 in the tournament. The Coyotes won three of those games via shutout and are done with invitationals. They've moved up to Division I this season and have a week off before delving into a meaty schedule. They head into those contests with a head of steam and confidence. Particularly with the way they responded in the bottom of the seventh to blunt Mesquite's comeback bid.

Sutherlin, who faltered only briefly in the outing with two outs in the fifth when she surrendered three successive hits and two runs, followed up with a 1-2-3 sixth in protecting the 4-2 lead. The last of the seventh began with a slow comebacker by Mesquite's No. 9 hitter Ariele Neal that Sutherlin made a nice pickup o and flipe and to second baseman Kailey Felkins covering first. The firstbase umpire called Neal out. on a bang-bang play. After a short delay Mesquite coach Gloria Hernandez asked the firstbase umpire to check with the plate umpire. They huddled and the call was reversed. 

Of course that didn't sit well with Campo Verde, but the call was final as safe. Sutherlin got the next hitter to hit into a force play at second. Mesquite's No. 2 hitter Caroline Chilton was next and floated a single over Felkins head to put the tying runs on. Two balls not hit hard and two baserunners.

Sutherlin tdid't flinch and got right to work. She had to face Mesquite's captain and No. 3 hitter Brittany Holland, who ripped an RBi double her lprevious time up in the fifth. This time Sutherlin got in tight on Holland and induced a roller to third that turned into a game-ending, 5-3 double play. Sutherlin scattered eight hits and struck out seven. Ten days ago she blanked Mesquite 4-0 and fanned 12. She is now 8-3 for the season.

"Brittany had great at bats, but she hit it to one spot you didn't want it to," Hernandez said. "That's how it goes sometimes. We were a defensive play and hit away from coming out on top."

Mesquite finished 4-1 in the tournament and is 8-4-1 overall.  The Wildcats got two hits from Chilton and two from Samantha Soto. Pitcher Taylor Cullen went the distance and gave up six hits -- three in the second and three in the fifth. Two of the four runs she allowed were unearned in the fifth.