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Westview crushes Millennium, eyes region title
Submitted by Shane McOwen on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 12:00am
Lady Knights run-rule Lady Tigers on back of Devan Dickson's shutout and 3 HR's
Westview’s and Millennium’s softball teams have both distanced themselves as the top two teams in the 6A Southwest Region, with each team entering the April 13 matchup undefeated in league play.
The Lady Knights took a step toward claiming the title in a big way, run-ruling the Lady Tigers 11-0 in five innings on the back of an otherworldly performance by Devan Dickson.
The senior transfer from Florida threw a complete game shutout in the circle and hit three home runs, driving in seven, at the plate.
“She was hot today,” Westview coach Larry Wonner said.
Three batters into the bottom of the first, Dickson gave Westview the lead by smashing a pitch opposite field over the right-field fence, making it 2-0. She hit another two-run home run, same location as the first, in the third inning to make the score 4-0.
The Lady Knights exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the fifth to put the game away, capped by Dickson’s three-run blast to center field, putting the run-rule into effect.
In the circle, Dickson surrendered only four baserunners on three hits and a hit batter in five innings, striking out two.
“Dickson, the pitcher, she had a good game, obviously,” Millennium coach Donnie Tizzano said. “I thought she was effectively wild early in the game. We chased a little bit, and then she settled down. She threw a little bit harder than we anticipated. Obviously, she’s a real good hitter. We’ve never seen her before, but up and down that lineup, they did a pretty good job.”
Tizzano said his team didn’t match Westview’s intensity from the get go.
“It’s disappointing,” he said. “We didn’t come out to play. We didn’t match their intensity, and I think that was a big part of it. Athlete for athlete, I think it’s pretty close. They came out and it showed today in effort. The way this game went down is the way it was supposed to go down, just with the pregame and effort. They were ready, and I don’t know if we were.”
The Lady Tigers were only able to muster one extra base hit — a double by Carly Finch — and never got a runner to second base with less than two outs.
Ceairra Perez also had a great day at the plate for Westview. She finished 3 for 3 with two doubles and two RBIs. The Lady Knights tallied 13 hits in the game.
“I didn’t expect 11-0,” Wonner said. “I figured we could hit, and we would have to limit them, because they will make plays. The nice thing about this lineup [is] I have people hitting in the six and seven spots, and we can play small ball, too. It looks good.”
For all the marbles
Despite Westview’s winning handily in the first matchup, the region-title race is far from over. The teams met again Tuesday at Millennium, with a winner-take-all situation potentially at hand. The result was not available at press time.
If both teams sweep their final region series of the season against other region opponents, the winner of Tuesday’s game would claim the automatic playoff berth. A Westview victory would give the Lady Knights a two-game cushion with two remaining, and a Millennium win would see the teams tied with identical region records, sending the final standings to a tiebreaker. Since Millennium has one fewer 6A Conference loss than Westview, it would win the region.
Wonner said it was essential to win the rematch against Millennium.
“We’ve got to beat them again,” Wonner said. “If we end up tied, they win because of the conference tiebreaker. I know they lost [to Phoenix Mountain Pointe before playing us], but we still have one more loss than them.”
Tizzano said region standings aside, the Lady Tigers need to win out to prove they can play with the state’s top teams in the playoffs.
“It’s three must-wins now,” Tizzano said. “We have to show up. Even if we sneak in, if we lose to [Westview] on Tuesday and we beat [Surprise] Valley [Vista] twice and sneak in, it really doesn’t matter. We have to beat them, because that’s a quality team, and that’s what we’re going to see when we get to state.”
Wonner said the team will really have to focus on its game heading into the rematch.
“It’s not a given,” he said. “It’s nice, obviously, to get that first one, but we’ve got to take care of business Tuesday. That’s the way it’s been [in region games]. Our first games, we’ve run ruled people, and in second games, it’s been a lot tougher. At least we have a history of it. They can still win the region, all they have to do is beat us and win two against Valley.”
Tizzano felt his team took some lessons from the loss and will apply them as the season wraps up, he said.
“I think they’ll respond,” Tizzano said. “The conversation we had down the line, you could see they were not happy. I think this is the first time that they were visibly upset after a loss, and that’s good to see. We’ve just been steamrolling people because we haven’t been challenged. Mountain View beat us pretty handily, but I think these guys [Westview] are a little bit better.
“Even if we beat them by one or two runs, an 11-0 shellacking kind of speaks volumes. We’ve got to come out and we’ve got to play well.”
Millennium ends the season with a home-and-home series against Valley Vista, the first game at 3:45 p.m. Thursday on the road, and the second at 6 p.m. April 24 at home.
Westview will host Glendale Copper Canyon at 3:45 p.m. Thursday, and will travel to face the Lady Aztecs at 3:45 p.m. Friday.
The 6A Conference playoffs begin April 26 with the play-in round, with the winners entering the double-elimination tournament against the top-eight rated teams on April 29.
Shane McOwen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ShaneMcOwen.
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