Returning the favor from last year's postseason, the bitter rivalry between Ironwood Ridge and Canyon del Oro added another chapter on Wednesday as the Nighthawks eliminated the two-time defending state champion Dorados 4-0, to advance to the Division II semifinals.
No. 4 I-Ridge knocked off No. 2 CDO with a dominant performance in the circle by Emily Robinson.
"She (Robinson) just had our number tonight," CDO coach Stephanie Nicholson said. "Shutting down our offense is tough feat, and I tip my hat to her."
I-Ridge will play again on Friday against No. 7 Phoenix Greenway in Phoenix at Rose Mofford Complex at 5:30 with a trip to the state finals on the offing.
Throwing a three-hit complete game, the junior held a Dorados lineup that had scored 21 runs in their last two games scoreless as I-Ridge extend its shutout streak to 21 innings since dropping into the elimination bracket.
"Coming into the game, I was pumped," said Robinson. "Between wanting to beat CDO and getting one step closer to a ring, I had a ton of energy."
Sophomore shortstop Alex Rapp got things started for the Nighthawks in the fourth inning with a double to the right field gap.
"I came up there really nervous, but I knew I could do it. I just had to relax," Rapp said. "I felt amazing when I hit it. I was just happy for my team."
Rapp scored a batter later when designated hitter Crista Braunreiter bunted, forcing a Dorados overthrow.
One out and a walk later, I-Ridge scored again when Robyn Porter's grounder took a bad bounce, ricocheting off third baseman Heather Knight and forcing the sophomore out of the game.
The Nighthawks got two more in the sixth after a walk and a pair of errors loaded the bases for Merilee Miller.
The sophomore center fielder bunted for a hit, making it 3-0, and a walk by senior right fielder Alexis Clinton pushed the lead to 4-0 before a double play ended the inning.
"This time of year, it's about taking advantage of mistakes other teams make," I-Ridge coach Randy Anway said. "That was really the difference in the game tonight."
CDO senior Alexis Alfonso pitched all seven innings for the Dorados, giving up six hits and striking out eight Nighthawks.
Today's baseball state tournament games
• No. 2 Tucson vs. No. 1 Scottsdale Desert Mountain, 6:30 p.m. at Tempe Diablo Stadium (semifinal, double elimination)
• No. 4 Sahuaro vs. No. 3 Scottsdale Notre Dame, 4 p.m. at Camelback Ranch Stadium (quarterfinals, single elimination)
• No. 6 Ironwood Ridge vs. No. 5 Phoenix Sunnyslope, 6:30 p.m. (semifinal, double elimination)