SOFTBALL: San Miguel outlasts Academy of Tucson in high-scoring game
March 31, 2016 by Andy Morales, AZPreps365
San Miguel gave up an early lead but the Vipers slowly fought back to defeat Academy of Tucson 14-10 on Thursday. The Vipers improved to 6-4 overall and 1-1 in Division V, Section II while Academy of Tucson dropped to 9-4 and 0-1.
San Miguel came in ranked 16th in the division while Academy of Tucson was 8th. The Vipers look to get back to the state playoffs after missing the last two seasons while the Lynx are hoping to build upon their first-ever playoff appearance from last year.
Caitlin Doster took the circle for Academy of Tucson but the senior ace is battling tendonitis in her ankle and is throwing without her typical velocity. It's the latest in a string of mishaps that have hampered but not stopped her career but, with over 500 strikeouts to her name, Doster is still one of the top pitchers in her division.
Doster suffered a torn MCL as a freshman, her team had to forfeit games during her sophomore season due to a transfer player which cost the program a shot at the playoffs and she went into the state playoffs last year with a case of bronchitis and laryngitis.
The Vipers cashed in and plated five runs in the top of the first and one more in the second. The game looked like it was going to end early but Academy of Tucson responded with eight runs in the bottom of the second to take an 8-6 lead.
San Miguel scored another run in the third and another in the fourth to tie the game at 8-8 but the Lynx scored two more to take a 10-8 lead.
San Miguel kept the pace going and scored another run in the fifth and one more in the sixth to tie the game up 10-10 heading to the seventh. Academy of Tucson had two runners on in the bottom of the sixth but Briauna Cruz collected two strikeouts in the inning to end the threat.
The Vipers scored four in the top of the seventh and Cruz shut the door in the bottom half for the 14-10 win. Cruz got stronger as the game went on and she retired nine of the last 11 batters she faced.
Doster collected nine strikeouts but the Vipers scored in every inning.
"Our team is a lot better than last year," sophomore infielder Ylianna "Sissy" Salazar said about San Miguel. "We have come a long way and I'm proud to call these girls my teammates."
Salazar went 3-5 with a double and two RBIs while Alexis Vizzerra went 3-5 with a triple, Savana Hubbard went 3-4 with an RBI, Larissa Madril-Rivera had an RBI double, Adriana Bracamonte went 2-4 with 3 RBIs and Cruz went 2-4 with 2 RBIs.
Lexi Cleveland had a 2-RBI double for Academy of Tucson and Carina Cruickshank had a 2-RBI triple. Leah Simpson went 2-4 and Alyssa Adams and Isa Whitby both had an RBI. Doster finished with two RBIs.
"I love my school and my team," Doster said as she reflected on the four years with the program. "The season is going well and I'm really proud of my strikeout total but we need to get past the first round his year. That is what we are shooting for."