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Cibola scores six in second to advance
One game after they couldn't get five hits in a game, the Cibola Raiders got five hits in an inning.
A six-run second inning provided all the run support pitcher Sarah Ray would need, and the No. 2 Raiders rolled to a 7-2 victory over No. 10 Phoenix-Pinnacle in a 5A-II elimination bracket game Tuesday at the Cibola softball complex.
Cibola (18-1) lost its playoff opener, 1-0 at home to No. 15 Avondale-La Joya. They had just four hits in the game. They matched that total Tuesday in the second inning.
"We finally came through. We played Cibola softball. It was totally different from the other day," Cibola coach Shelly Baumann said. "The girls were ready to play - they were ready to play the other day, but we made bad selections."
With a runner on and one out, Melissa Padilla ripped a double into left-center, then Alexis Evans, Isabella Olea and Alexis Gorman hit back-to-back-to-back RBI singles. Two batters later, Bethany Olea doubled home two, then Alex Roman brought home the last run with a ground out.
Cibola finished the game with eight hits, all in the first three innings.
"We were fired up in the beginning," Gorman said. "We knew we had to get it done, do or die, if you wan to stay in it you have to win. And we did."
Gorman said the team was well-motivated after falling flat against La Joya.
"We were all pissed and we were going to get it done - that was our mindset," Gorman said. "We had to win or we're out."
Cibola added a run on a bases loaded walk by Bethany Olea in the third. The Pioneer crept back into the game with two in the fifth off of Ray, but only was earned. Ray finished allowing five hits and struck out six. Both walks she allowed came in the fifth, but she retired the last seven batters in the game, and had a stretch of eight straight outs earlier in the game.
"Sarah pitched a wonderful game," Baumann said. "Her and Kacy have been working it well, and she pitched a wonderful game.
"I think anyone would pitch more confident if you got the six-spot," she said. "She was throwing hard today. She was throwing head, heart, gut. That's the motto of our team, and she showed it all today."
Gorman finished 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI. The bottom two hitters in the Cibola lineup, Evans and Isabella Olea, had four hits, three runs and two RBIs total - all in their first four at-bats.
The Raiders keep their title hopes alive, facing either No. 3 Glendale-Deer Valley or No. 6 Tucson-Sunnyside 4 p.m. Friday at Phoenix-Sandra Day O'Connor in the second round of the elimination bracket. A win and they'd play again at 11:45 a.m. Saturday in an elimination bracket semifinal at O'Connor.