PHOENIX - With the help of four RBIs from Bailey Rominger, top-seeded Empire had little trouble handling No. 17 Lakeside Blue Ridge in the second round of the Division III softball state tournament. The Ravens won 7-1 at Rose Mofford Sports Complex.
"Throughout the entire game I just wanted to keep putting up runs," Rominger said. "I wanted to show them that we weren't going to let up at all."
The sophomore catcher helped Empire (29-3) get off to a fast start in the first inning, driving in the Ravens' first run of the day with a single.
Empire pushed the score to 3-0 after two innings with another RBI from Rominger and one from freshman second baseman Elysa Rodriguez.
After giving up a run in the top of the fourth, making it 3-1, the Ravens scored four in the bottom half, extending their lead to 7-1, with a two-run single from Rominger.
Pitchers Kelsey Smith and Brittany Woolridge combined to hold the Yellow Jackets (16-14) to just one run on four hits.
Empire will return to Rose Mofford today for a 9:30 a.m. quarterfinal game against No. 8 Show Low.
Benson holds on, advances
Benson hung on 4-3 against No. 20 Camp Verde, after a three-run sixth nearly derailed the fourth-seeded Bobcats' chances of advancing to the Division III quarterfinals.
Benson (25-4) was led both on the mound and at the plate by pitcher Kendra Behr. Behr earned the win and also went 3 for 3 at the plate with two home runs, including a two-run shot in the first inning at Rose Mofford.
"The first one, I just wanted to get on base," Behr said. "The second time in the fifth, there were two outs, and my coaches always say it's the perfect opportunity to just swing away."
Behr surrendered a pair of hits through the first five innings. Camp Verde scored three runs on four hits in the sixth, but Behr got out of the inning with one of her four strikeouts. The tying run was stranded at second base.
She then retired the Cowboys (14-14-1) in order in the seventh inning.