Centennial’s softball team readily admitted it squandered too many scoring opportunities in a loss to Palo Verde on Thursday.
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 Saturday 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 carryover early Friday, 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 home run off the scoreboard in left-center in the third inning to make it 5-0, and that was plenty for Centennial pitcher Cheyenne Cudahy.
Cudahy allowed six hits and just one earned run while striking out four. She threw 64 of her 93 pitches for strikes.
“She was very economical,” Livreri said. “It helps all of us. We wanted to just handle business and get out of here. We have to try to win two games tomorrow.”
Stroman went 2-for-3 for Centennial, which won the state title in each of the last two years.
“They’re hungry. They don’t want the season to end,” Livreri said. “There is a lot of seniors on this team, a lot of heart, a lot of pride. 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 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.
Dayton Yingling allowed just five hits and struck out five for the Gaels.
Dacia Sykes was 2-for-4 for Arbor View (16-12-1).