Verrado stays alive in 5A state playoffs

Casey Pritchard's picture
MADDIE GAINES of Verrado connects with a pitch during a home playoff game April 29 against Poston Butte. Gaines and the Lady Vipers stayed alive in the 5A double-elimination state tournament by beating Marana Mountain View 11-1 in five innings May 4. View photo by Michael Rincon
MADDIE GAINES of Verrado connects with a pitch during a home playoff game April 29 against Poston Butte. Gaines and the Lady Vipers stayed alive in the 5A double-elimination state tournament by beating Marana Mountain View 11-1 in five innings May 4. View photo by Michael Rincon

After losing to Chaparral, Lady Vipers dominate Marana Mountain View

The double-elimination portion of the 5A state playoffs provided Verrado with an extra opportunity, and the Lady Vipers took full advantage of that last week.

Two days after losing a back-and-forth affair to Scottsdale Chaparral, Verrado answered the call against Marana Mountain View, winning 11-1 at Rose Mofford Softball Complex May 4. The game was halted in the bottom of the fifth inning because of the mercy rule.

It took us a couple innings to figure out what was going on pitching wise,” Verrado coach Tee Hampton said. “She [Mountain View pitcher Zaylie Calderon] threw a decent rise ball, and we haven't seen a rise ball in a while. A lot of the pitchers we’ve seen lately are east west, screw, curve, change, fastball, nothing up and down. We haven’t seen a pitcher like that in a while, so it just took a few innings to get caught up.”

The Lady Vipers trailed 1-0 going into the bottom of the third, but erupted for nine runs to bust the game open.

I’m a strong believer that once someone gets it going, and it doesn’t matter who’s throwing, everybody starts hitting,” Hampton said. “They’re so competitive, they all want to compete, and once they see one gets on, they’re like, ‘OK, I want to get on now.’ It’s simple competition.”

Hailey Raio and Bianca Worthy provided the big blows in the third inning, as each doubled with the bases loaded.

Hailey hit a ball off the left-center wall that cleared the bases, and Bianca Worthy came up and smoked one into the left corner that cleared the bases,” Hampton said.

The rest was up to pitcher Reina Kelley, who allowed just five hits and one run in five innings. Kelley struck out eight.

She pitched really well,” Hampton said. We rested her and gave her the ball, go out there and take care of business, and she did. All of her pitches were doing really well.”

May 2 contest

Verrado didn’t fare as well in its May 2 game against Scottsdale Chaparral. The offense was up to the test, but the Lady Vipers allowed a couple of two-out rallies to the Lady Firebirds that were the difference in an 11-9 loss.

We didn’t quite get it, but that’s just the way the game goes,” Hampton said. “So close. We go from winning 3-1 and we have two outs, and a couple things, now all of a sudden, they’re up 6-3.”

Chaparral’s fourth-inning rally started with a two-out walk to Taylor Cannatelli, the ninth hitter in the Firebirds’ order. Three singles and two triples later, Verrado’s 3-1 lead had turned into a 6-3 deficit. None of the balls were hit particularly hard, but they found holes.

We put a lot on Reina,” Hampton said. “We expect a lot from her. We shouldn’t, everybody should be able to do their jobs around her to support her. It’s a team effort.”

Verrado answered back with a four-run fifth inning, taking a 7-6 lead. Maddie Gaines had an RBI fielder’s choice, which was followed by a sacrifice fly to right from Kasey Jones. Reina Tsuma then chopped through the middle of the infield, which scored a pair of runs.

Chaparral took the lead back with a two-run home run by Madison Cannatelli in the sixth, making it 8-7, but the Lady Vipers got a sacrifice fly from Katelyn Acton to tie the score at 8-8 in the bottom of the sixth.

In the seventh, Chaparral hurt Verrado with another two-out rally. It was a walk that again got things started, and after a double put runners on second and third, Haley Boxwell left the yard, hitting a three-run bomb to center. Verrado got one run back in the bottom of the seventh, but it wasn’t enough.

The loss was Verrado’s second against Chaparral this season, as the Lady Vipers dropped a 12-8 contest to the Lady Firebirds March 28.

Ironically, Verrado’s win against Mountain View, coupled with Chaparral’s loss to No. 1 Vail Cienega May 4, means the two teams met again Tuesday. The result was unavailable at press time, but the loser was eliminated from the tournament, while the winner moved on to the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Rose Mofford.

I think we just go out there and compete,” Hampton said of facing Chaparral for a third time. “Every time we’ve played them, it gets more competitive, the score gets closer. I just think maybe the third time is the charm. We talked about how we had an unlucky inning the last game, that fourth inning, the ball was just not doing what we needed it to do, balls are getting hit in certain areas, bleeders, bloopers, it was painful. They put up five and we couldn’t come back from that.

Hitting wise, we hit pretty well. I think we only had three strikeouts and they had double that. Hopefully, we can get the bats going and have a little bit of luck, which never hurts.”

 

Casey Pritchard can be reached at caseypritchard@westvalleyview.com
or on Twitter @CaseyonSports.

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