D-II Softball Championship: Ironwood Ridge over Cactus 6-2
May 16, 2016 by Andy Morales, AZPreps365
No. 2 Ironwood Ridge beat No. 4 Cactus 6-2 Monday night at Farrington Stadium to win the Division 2 state championship. The title was the second in the last three years for Ironwood Ridge (34-3). Cactus (28-9) has six titles with the last coming in 2006.
Mandy Lorenson (11-2) took the circle for the Nighthawks and Tatumn Porras (20-8) got the ball for the Cobras. The first inning was uneventful but the Cobras threatened in the top of the second when Ursula Del Campo reached on an error to start things off but she was thrown out later at third trying to advance on another dropped ball.
Ironwood Ridge loaded the bases in bottom of the second with a double by Skylar Bracety setting the table followed by a hit-by-pitch issued to Jaiden Reid and an infield hit from Kelsey Buechler. Loriann Olson came up after a pop fly and put the ball in play with two outs. The ball was thrown away, allowing Bracety and Reid to score.
Up 2-0, Lorenson appeared to get stronger and she shut down seven batters in a row until Porras hit the left field wall to start off the top of the fifth inning and then Emilie Guerra hit what appeared to be a home run off the padding over the wall but it was ruled an RBI-double to cut the lead down to 2-1.
Porras also picked up some steam and she stopped eight batters in a row and got more help after freshman Alynah Torres hit a massive dinger to tie the game up 2-2 with two outs in the top of the sixth. It was her 14th home run of the year.
"They have a great team," Porras said after reflecting on the game and what she had accomplished this year. "It seemed like everyone on their team can hit. That's frustrating to a pitcher but that happens."
Isabel Pacho got things going again for Ironwood Ridge in the bottom of the sixth after she drew a hit-by-pitch. Annika Baez followed with a single and then Reid tripled to right one out later to score two more runs. Morgan Haft hit her first home run of the season and the Nighthawks extended their lead to 6-2.
"I was feeling really good before the game," Reid explained. "I mean, I've been in a slump all year it seems but I hit my first home run of the year when it mattered the most. The best part is I told my teammates I was going to hit one tonight."
Lorenson held Cactus to only three hits, not bad against a team batting .405 coming into the game. For head coach Rich Alday, Lorenson was just part of the bigger picture, a team he said has a special place in his heart.
"All the teams are different but this one was special," Alday said. They worked hard to get here and there were no issues. Mandy was hitting her spots and they came in confident."
While the Nighthawks are the "new" power team in Division II, Porras felt her team had somethign to prove this year and they more than accomplished that goal.
"No one was expecting us to be here," she added. Everyone was against us. I worked hard every game and on every pitch to get here and I know the team will continue to do well."
Porras is headed to South Mountain and Lorenson to Pima. This game was but one step on the larger goal, but both will be remembered for the season they gave to their respected teams.
Game photos will be available at MaxPreps.com