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Coronado crushes Palo Verde to reach 5A state softball final — PHOTOS

Updated May 17, 2024 - 10:34 pm

Bad innings can kill a softball team, especially in the playoffs.

Coronado had a bad first inning in the Class 5A state semifinals Friday, but somehow recovered to rout Palo Verde 15-4 in six innings at Faith Lutheran.

The victory lifted the Cougars (19-6) into Saturday’s 9 a.m. championship game against Douglas (32-5) at Bishop Gorman.

Junior Alohi Mundon went 3-for-4 with five RBIs. She had the big blow in a 6-run rally in the fourth, a three-run homer that gave Coronado the lead for good.

After scoring a run in the top of the first inning, the Cougars came out sloppy on defense in the bottom half. A walk and two errors set the stage for Mya Bartlett’s two-run single that gave Palo Verde a 4-1 lead.

“When we got back in (the dugout), I told them we had a bad inning,” said Coronado coach Lauren Taylor, whose squad lost to the Panthers (No. 1 seed from the South at 21-9) in the Southern Region championship game last week. “But I told them that there can only be one bad inning and any wiggle room we just gave up.”

Her team responded, cutting the deficit to 4-2 with a run in the second before taking full advantage of Palo Verde’s brutal fourth inning.

Coronado (No. 2 South) sent 12 batters to the plate in the inning, making the most of bloop singles, bunts and two errors. The Cougars had closed the gap to 4-3 when Mundon stepped to the plate with two runners on and one out.

“I got an inside pitch, which is my favorite,” Mundon said. “I knew from there; our energy was up.”

She launched her homer over the center-field fence to give the Cougars a 6-4 lead, which was 8-4 by the time the inning was over.

“I knew that wasn’t enough,” Taylor said. “Even at the end of that inning, I was hoping momentum would stay in our direction.”

Pitcher Kendall Selitzsky made sure it did, as she finished with 10 strikeouts and did not allow another run the rest of the way. The offense tacked on seven more runs in the next two innings.

Summer Gilliam went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs for Coronado, and teammate Charlotte Bendlin had two doubles and five RBIs.

Bartlett went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs for Palo Verde.

Douglas 3, Palo Verde 2

The early loss forced the Panthers to play in the losers’ bracket semifinal game against Douglas, which had advanced by defeating Spanish Springs 7-4.

Bartlett went 2-for-2 with a double to lead Palo Verde, which fell victim to a fluke seventh-inning play that ultimately gave the Tigers the win.

The Panthers, the top seed from the South, led 2-1 after Payton Liposky’s RBI single in the first inning, and the score stayed that way until the top of the seventh.

With Bradi Odom pitching for Palo Verde, Cam McLelland hammered a home run to left-center field to lead off the inning, tying the score at 2.

Ava Delaney followed with a line drive to right field that appeared to be a routine single. But the ball caromed off the field sharply to the right, rolling slowly into the corner and allowing Delaney to come all the way around for a home run.

Contact reporter Jeff Wollard at jwollard@reviewjournal.com.

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