Two days after snapping a three-game winning streak, Desert View got back on track with a 10-0 win over Sierra Vista Buena in five innings, likely locking up its first trip to the state playoffs since 2011.
The No. 23 Jaguars (13-11) scored in all five innings — including four runs in the third — to earn a much-needed win. They will find out their postseason fate this afternoon when the Arizona Interscholastic Association reveals the tournament brackets with a live broadcast on AIA365.com.
Senior pitcher Odalis Orduno held Buena (13-18) to two hits, and Jaguar sophomore Mariah Martinez’s double was the game’s only extra-base hit.
Desert View won four of its final five games to set up a proper send-off for longtime coach Bert Otero, who led the Jaguars to the 4A state title in 2000 and will be retiring after this season.
Empire 4, Douglas 0: At Empire, the Ravens (28-4) and starting pitcher Brittany Woolridge all but clinched a first-round bye in the Division III state tournament. The junior struck out 12 en route to a complete game, her 13th win of the season. Douglas (12-13) was held to just two hits. Bulldog Andrea Lugo had the only extra-base hit of the afternoon, hitting a triple.
Pusch Ridge Christian 12, St. Gregory 8: At St. Gregory, sophomore Emma Stambaugh and junior Maddie Dowdle powered the No. 14 Lions (13-12-1) to a four-run victory against the 15th-ranked Hawks in a Division IV game. Stambaugh had a pair of doubles, and Dowdle, the team leader in batting average and RBIs, had a triple and an inside-the-park home run. Starting pitcher Ashley Perdue picked up the complete-game victory, though she allowed a three-run St. Gregory (10-11) rally in the seventh inning.
Salpointe Catholic 10, Casa Grande Vista Grande 0: At Vista Grande, junior ace Jio Orozco struck out 14 in a no-hitter, and senior Marcus Catalano hit a double and a home run to help the No. 23 Lancers lock up the Division II, Section VI championship and a trip to the state playoffs. Salpointe (21-7) will likely be on the road in the first round Saturday.
Cienega 9, Sabino 3: At Cienega, the Bobcat seniors shined, as the home side virtually locked up a berth in the Division II state playoffs by beating the Sabercats. Cienega (17-10) entered the game positioned in the final playoff spot, but with the win against No. 36 Sabino (10-16-1), the Bobcats have now won seven of their last nine, including victories against fellow playoff teams Salpointe Catholic and Douglas. Senior Andre Jackson recorded his third save of the season Wednesday afternoon to finish off the win for senior Luis Gamez.
Rio Rico 6, Eloy Santa Cruz Valley 4: At Santa Cruz Valley, Rio Rico positioned itself to make the Division III state playoffs for the second straight year after edging the Dust Devils. It was the Hawks’ sixth win in their past seven games. Rio Rico (13-14), which sits at No. 23 in the latest AIA Power Rankings, had never made the state tournament before last season. The Hawks’ softball team also made noise Wednesday, beating Santa Cruz Valley by an identical 6-4 score. Rio Rico
(15-13) appears to be ready to claim its first playoff berth in school history.
Pusch Ridge Christian 8, St. Gregory 3: At St. Gregory, the Lions concluded their regular season on a seven-game winning streak. Senior pitcher Jacob Frithsen tossed a complete game with seven strikeouts. At 23-4, Pusch Ridge will end the year as Division IV’s second-ranked team and earn a first-round bye. The loss likely eliminated St. Gregory (11-11), which sits at No. 28 in the latest power rankings.