Graduation did a number on Basic’s softball team after it advanced to last year’s Class 4A state tournament.
But the Wolves returned their ace in the circle.
On Thursday, junior Shelby Basso made sure they would return to the state tournament.
Basso pitched a two-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts and contributed two hits, including a three-run double, in a five-inning 11-0 victory over Sierra Vista in the losers bracket final of the Desert Region tournament at Foothill.
Basic (28-8) meets Coronado (25-7) at 2 p.m. Friday at Foothill for the region championship. The Wolves must win twice to claim the title. Both teams qualify for next week’s state tournament.
“This is an incredible feeling, making state for the second year in a row,” said Basic coach Lauren Taylor, who had eight seniors last year. “After losing so many seniors a year ago, I just didn’t know what to expect. But these kids have worked very hard, and it’s been lots of fun along the way.”
Basso allowed a one-out single to Jessica Schneider in the first inning and a bunt single to Daelynn Hilton to open the fifth. She made 74 pitches.
“Shelby was simply methodical today,” Taylor said. “We wanted to keep her pitch count low to keep her as fresh as possible Friday. She took complete command from the beginning and never looked back.”
The Wolves made her job much easier by touching Schneider for four runs in the bottom of the first. Miki Berg singled with the bases loaded, and Berg scored on an error, her hit misplayed in the outfield.
Basic scored a run in the second on two hits and another error by Sierra Vista (22-13). It added five runs in the third inning, three on Basso’s double, for a 10-0 lead.
Freshman Sierra McClean capped the scoring with a home run to open the fourth. Basic had seven hits and drew seven walks.
“It was a total team effort,” Taylor said. “We came out focused and were ready to play.”