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Cibola starter strikes out 11 in 1-0 win over Buena
It didn't take long for Cibola to get the job done.
The Raiders' game against the No. 10 Buena lasted just more than an hour and resulted in a 1-0 win over the Colts on Tuesday.
Cibola ace Jackie Pierson brought her A-game once again and prevailed in what turned out to be a battle of the pitchers. Pierson pitched a complete game, allowing only one hit while racking up 11 strikeouts for the Raiders.
The win advances the No. 7 Raiders to the third round of the Division I state tournament. They will play No. 2-seeded Red Mountain at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Rose Mofford Complex in Phoenix.
“It's relieving,” Pierson said. “Now we just have to keep winning and hopefully we don't lose.”
The lone run for the Raiders came in the bottom of the fifth inning. With two outs and two on, Bethany Olea put the ball in the grass — just out of the reach of the Colts' left fielder. Olea's single allowed Leslie Morris to reach home and put Cibola ahead.
“I was struggling all game and it was nice just to actually go up there and see a pitch I could hit,” said Olea, who went 2 for 3. “It just fell in the right spot.”
The Raiders were prepared for a good pitching performance from Buena's Kaitlin Wilson and despite the loss, she delivered. Wilson went the distance, allowing one run on seven hits while striking out nine.
“She had a lot of movement on the ball, excellent rise ball and a great change-up — we never knew when it was coming,” Raiders coach Shelly Baumann said. “We kind of looked silly up to bat a couple times. ... We maybe thought about it a little bit too much. We just went up there the last couple innings and just put a bat on the ball.”
Tuesday's wind made things more challenging for the Cibola outfielders but they rose to the challenge. The Raiders caught all of the balls that came their way — including an excellent grab by Amanda Hernandez that could have easily turned detrimental for Cibola.
“They (the defense) did amazing,” Pierson said. “They've been doing good these last couple games so I'm really happy with them.”
Pierson allowed three walks in the game, including two intentional walks to her Buena counterpart Wilson.
“I just wanted to keep my pitches away from the hitters that I knew could do damage. The walks, they didn't end up hurting us so I think it was the right thing to do.”
Erin Redmond can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6880. Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YSErinRedmond.