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Yuma Catholic blows out Tonopah Valley behind dominant Rowlinson performance
For three innings Yuma Catholic starting pitcher Gabrielle Rowlinson was perfect, for four innings she was unhittable and after five she was a winner.
Rowlinson struck out nine and gave up only one earned run, leading the Shamrocks to a 17-2 win over Tonopah Valley Thursday.
Despite Rowlinson's dominant performance, there was something else on her mind. It was her birthday.
“I try to block out any outside stuff,” Rowlinson said. “For example, my birthday, I saw that as an obstacle. I was just trying to focus completely on the game. I guess my focus was high today.”
Rowlinson's signature change-up was lights out Thursday, at one point striking out five batters in a row, including catching all three looking in the second inning.
“She has a great change up and she knows show to keep the batters off balance,” Yuma Catholic coach Alyssa Rhodes said, who calls the pitches from the dugout. “We'll throw it back to back to back, we'll throw it two times in a row, we'll throw it anytime in the count pretty much because she can throw it for a strike anytime.”
As dominant as Rowlinson was, her offense gave her plenty of breathing room. The Shamrocks had multiple-run innings three different times, scoring six in the first, four in the third and seven in the fourth.
“We swung the bats and we've been getting good at-bats,” Rhodes said. “We're hitting the ball better and we're seeing the ball better. A lot of walks, we're being very patient.”
Yuma Catholic drew 15 walks in the game and was helped by a shaky Tonopah Valley defense.
The Shamrocks' three-hole hitting catcher Josie Quiroz went 3 for 3 with a walk.
“It's fun out there,” Quiroz said. “When everybody hits, when we score so many runs, it builds up our confidence so the next game we'll go up with that confidence and win.”
Quiroz, who is relatively new to the catching position, kept everything in front of her, including Rowlinson's dancing change-up.
“It's only my second year catching out there,” she said. “I never had any experience, they just put me out there when one of our players got hurt. I just go out there with confidence and just block everything.”
Rowlinson gave up her first hit in the fifth inning to Tonopah Valley substitute left fielder Amy Orozco, but struck out the next two batters and eventually fielded the ground-out to end the game.
“She gave me a great performance today,” Rhodes said. “I was a little concerned at first because it's her birthday. I wasn't sure if she was going to come out focused, but that's not like Gabby to not be focused. She's always ready to go.”