Hawks to face Dorados
The softball field at Gila Ridge is overgrown, unkempt after the last home game was played there nearly a month ago.
It's current state would lead you to believe that it's abandoned for the year — but that couldn't be further from the truth.
The No. 24 seeded Hawks are still alive and well in the postseason and are ready to take on No. 2 seeded Tucson-Canyon del Oro in a Division II elimination bracket quarterfinal at 6:30 p.m. today at Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix.
“They've (Canyon del Oro) lost just like we have,” shortstop Summer Ehrig said. “The number really doesn't mean anything because if it did we wouldn't be here.”
After losing to No. 1 Sunrise Mountain on Thursday, Gila Ridge rebounded by topping No. 4 Prescott in an elimination game on Saturday.
The Hawks had to travel for every one of their postseason games but are enjoying the extra time they've gotten to spend together as a team.
“The trips are fun, they're not really getting to us,” freshman slugger Makinleigh Duran said. “We like to travel together and we're getting pumped and ready for those big games.”
It's a win or die situation for the Hawks. But a win today will send the team back up Phoenix on Wednesday for the semifinal game of the elimination bracket.
Hawks coach Jaime McGalliard said her team won't be able to rely on just offense or defense and that they'll need both to advance further into the playoffs.
Canyon del Oro is a mostly unfamiliar opponent for Gila Ridge but the Hawks know that they will be up against good pitching and leadoff batter who has hit four homers in the postseason alone.
“It's important that Nikki (Kelland) goes out and hits her spots and it's important that we don't give up any extra bases or any free outs,” McGalliard said. “If we give up free outs or extra bases I think that we're going to shoot ourselves in the foot. But if we go out and play fundamentally sound defense then I think we're going to have a good chance to beat them.”
Erin Redmond can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6880. Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YSErinRedmond.