The Rancho softball team entered Friday’s Sunrise Region tournament losers’ bracket final with a reputation for having dominant pitching.
Coronado’s Danielle Amato proved that she can shut down a lineup, too.
Amato tossed a three-hitter, and the Cougars blanked Rancho 3-0 at Foothill to avenge a loss earlier in the tournament and advance to the region championship.
Coronado (23-15-1) will face host Foothill (19-13) at noon today and must beat the Falcons twice to claim the title. Foothill went 2-1 against the Cougars this season and won both Southeast League games.
“I think we had a little bit of a chip on our shoulder after the first Rancho game,” Coronado coach Melissa Krueger said. “We came out with the mentality (to) leave it all on the field today. We’ve got a lot of softball left in us, and I think we proved that today.”
Amato, who gave up six hits in a 3-2 loss to Rancho on Wednesday, needed only 86 pitches to put the clamps on the Rams (29-8-1) this time. She struck out two, didn’t walk a batter and induced six pop-ups among her nine fly-ball outs.
The only trouble Amato ran into came in the first inning. Brandy Marlett blooped a double down the left-field line, and the ball got away from Coronado shortstop Jaiden Johnson, who nearly made a spectacular running catch.
Johnson’s wild throw toward the infield allowed Marlett to move to third, but Amato retired McKinzi Vega on a pop-up to second baseman Marissa Kopp to end the inning.
Johnson reached on an error on the game’s first pitch and scored on Basia Query’s ringing double into the left-field corner. In the third inning, Johnson had a one-out double and scored on a single up the middle by Brooke Younie. Amato then made it 3-0 with a double to deep left, chasing Marlett after 2 1/3 innings.
■ Coronado 7, Liberty 1 — Johnson went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and the Cougars scored six runs in the first inning to eliminate the Patriots (16-9-2).
Ashleigh Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with a double, and Kylie Hefley drove in Liberty’s run with an RBI ground-out in the fourth to score Felicia Rivera.
Centennial’s softball team readily admitted it squandered too many opportunities Thursday in a loss to Palo Verde.
When the Bulldogs got their first chance to score Friday, they didn’t miss.
Lacie Chakos drilled a three-run double to right-center with two outs in the bottom of the first inning to help the Bulldogs to a 5-2 win over host Bishop Gorman in the losers’ bracket final of the Sunset Region tournament.
Centennial (30-7) will face Palo Verde (29-6) for the region title and a berth in the Division I state tournament at noon today at Gorman. Centennial must beat the Panthers twice to earn the spot at state.
“It was a big early boost,” Centennial coach Mike Livreri said. “You don’t want to leave the bases loaded. We left plenty of runners (Thursday). It was a good pick-me-up from the get-go.”
The Bulldogs left seven runners on base — five in scoring position — in the final four innings of a 4-3 loss to Palo Verde on Thursday.
But Centennial showed no signs of carry-over early, loading the bases in the first on a single by Lauren Stroman, a hit by pitch by Heather Bowen and a walk by Angel Love. Chakos drove all three home, going the opposite way on a 1-2 pitch.
Love belted a two-run homer off the scoreboard in left-center in the third to make it 5-0, and that was plenty for Centennial pitcher Cheyenne Cudahy.
Cudahy allowed six hits and one earned run while striking out four. She threw 64 of her 93 pitches for strikes.
Stroman went 2-for-3 for Centennial, the two-time defending state champions.
“There is a lot of seniors on this team, a lot of heart, a lot of pride,” Livreri said. “Just because they’ve been there before and won doesn’t mean they don’t want to get there again.”
Megan Coyle was 2-for-3 with a double for Gorman (23-9).
■ Bishop Gorman 4, Arbor View 2 — Megan Coyle’s two-out RBI single in the bottom of the fifth broke a 2-2 tie and allowed the Gaels to knock out the Aggies (16-12-1) in a losers’ bracket semifinal.
Jasmine Gibson followed Coyle’s hit with a run-scoring double. Gibson was 2-for-2, and Sierra Dias went 2-for-4 with a run for Gorman.
DIVISION I-A SOUTHERN REGION
Boulder City softball coach Angelica Moorhead told her team she wanted to celebrate her birthday by playing for the Division I-A Southern Region title.
The Eagles made their coach’s birthday wish come true after scoring 11 runs in the first two innings against Faith Lutheran and hanging on for a 16-11 win.
Boulder City (25-6) advanced to meet Pahrump Valley (22-13) in today’s final at noon at Faith Lutheran. The Eagles must win twice to win the region title, but both squads will advance to next week’s state tournament in Reno.
The victory secures a berth in the Division I-A state tournament for the Eagles. If they defeat Pahrump Valley twice, then Boulder City will be a No. 1 seed in the state tournament.
“I was not relieved until that third out was made in the seventh inning,” Moorhead said. “No one wanted to go home today. We all wanted to go to Reno and be playing (today).”
The Eagles took control early, stringing together four singles and scoring three runs in the top of the first. In the second, the Eagles exploded for eight runs.
The Crusaders, however, kept chipping away. Lauryn Lipe hit a grand slam in the fourth to cut the lead to 11-7. Lipe hit a solo home run in the seventh, finishing with six RBIs.
But Brown came on in relief of starting pitcher Charlene Masterson with two outs in the fourth and quelled the rally.
■ Faith Lutheran 8, Tech 0 — Haley Jack tossed a three-hitter and struck out nine as the Crusaders eliminated the Roadrunners (15-9).
DIVISION IV SOUTHERN LEAGUE
Kennedy Huntsman tossed a six-inning two-hitter and went 2-for-3 with a triple, a double and an RBI to help host Pahranagat Valley’s softball team to an 11-1 win over Indian Springs in the winners’ bracket final of the Division IV Southern League tournament.
Huntsman struck out seven and helped the Panthers (21-4) earn a spot in the title game at 10 a.m. today, again against Indian Springs (9-8). Both teams qualify for next week’s state tournament.
Madison Harris was 2-for-4 with a triple, a double and an RBI, and Bailee Hosier was 3-for-4 for Pahranagat Valley.
■ Indian Springs 10, Tonopah 3 — Caroline Stark was 3-for-5 with a double to help the Thunderbirds earn their way back to the title game.
Bria Galli went 2-for-3 with a double for the Muckers (3-10).