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No. 24 Hawks upset No. 8 Mohave
BULLHEAD CITY — The Hawks advanced to the third round of the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division II State Softball Tournament after outlasting the Lady T-birds 7-5 at Mohave High School on Tuesday evening.
“It was a crazy game, back and forth,” Gila Ridge High School head coach Jaime McGalliard said. “We knew coming in that it's never over until the last pitch.”
The Hawks needed 11 innings to knock off Mohave 8-7 at Gila Ridge on March 29; so, it was not surprising this one came down to the last pitch despite seemingly comfortable four-run Gila Ridge leads in the sixth-inning and seventh-innings.
With the win, the No. 24 Hawks will play top-ranked Sunrise Mountain at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Rose Mofford Complex.
Gila Ridge's Candra Land reached on an error, stole second, moved up to third on a fielder's choice and scored on another error to put the Hawks ahead 1-0 in the top of the first inning. The Hawks scored three more unearned runs in their fifth.
Nikki Kelland reached on an error, Candi Kelland sacrificed her to second, Madison Covey walked and Land singled to load the bases with one out. Then Summer Ehrig's two-out single brought home courtesy runner Brittaney Wolfensberger, Kaelin Fox's single plated Candi Kelland and Ashley Van Why's single scored Covey to put the Hawks up 4-0.
“It was errors,” T-birds head coach Shannon Patterson said. “We had been playing solidly for the last nine games. We kept our errors (to a minimum). Unfortunately, some of the stuff that plagued us in the beginning of the season came back to bite us today.”
Gila Ridge was cruising until the bottom of the sixth when Mohave scored three to make it interesting.
Alyssa Benally drew a two-out walk, Cassie Olander reached on a two-base error and Benally advanced to third before Michaela Towns' single drove home Benally as Olander advanced to third and Towns to second on the throw to the plate. Then Kassie Moore's single drove home Olander and Towns.
The Hawks answered with three insurance runs in their half of the seventh. Ariana Rader reached first on a one-out error, Ehrig walked, Van Why singled to load the bases and Nikki Kelland's two-out RBI walk brought home Rader.
Then Candi Kelland reached on an error as Ehrig and courtesy runner Wolfensberger scored to give the Hawks another four-run cushion entering the bottom of the seventh.
T-birds Demerie Raymond hit a one-out single, Nikki Freeman drew a two-out walk before Raymond and Freeman stole second and third. Then Benally knocked in the two runners to cut the deficit to 7-5, but Olander grounded out to third to end the game.
Kelland gave up five runs — two earned — seven hits, struck out four, walked five and hit one batter in seven innings to earn the win for the 22-17 overall Hawks' squad.
“Nikki didn't have her best stuff today but she just continued to battle,” McGalliard said. “The kids just continued to battle all day and we were able to pull one out.”