Canyon del Oro pitcher Kayla Bonstrom missed the tag in an early playoff game on Ironwood Ridge's Alexis Clinton, but she has been doing everything else to lead CDO to the title game.


There's a good chance Kayla Bonstrom has outworked you the last few weeks.

Don't be insulted. It's tough to keep up with the Canyon del Oro senior.

The Stanford commit has done it all for the Dorados - especially lately.

The team's leadoff hitter, Bonstrom has six home runs in six postseason games. In two playoff games against Ironwood Ridge, she has just two official at-bats and homered in both.

The Nighthawks wisely walked Bonstrom in her seven other plate appearances.

The senior has also pitched in five of the team's six postseason games, starting four. She's tossed complete games in each start and threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings in relief earlier in the tournament against Sabino.

"I have so much respect for her," Ironwood Ridge coach Randy Anway said. "I don't know her personally, but she's a great competitor and plays the game the right way."

Here's a look at how Bonstrom gets it done.

• She has great plate discipline.

In her team's semifinal win over Ironwood Ridge, Bonstrom stepped to the plate for the fourth time.

She hadn't seen a single strike since she homered in the first inning, but got one from Ironwood Ridge ace Makayla McAdams on a 1-0 pitch.

Bonstrom turned around and shared a laugh with the umpire, as both were in disbelief she saw a strike. She then, of course, got three straight balls and trotted to first.

"I have to do what is best for the team," Bonstrom said. "I know that if I get on base, my teammates will bring me around and that's my job as a leadoff hitter.

"Being patient at the plate is just part of the job, I guess."

• She's a fearless competitor.

Ask CDO coach Stephanie Nicholson what her favorite part of Bonstrom's game is and she'll talk all day about her competitive fire.

In the team's only postseason loss, a 9-8 setback to Ironwood Ridge, Bonstrom pitched the whole game. After a rough fifth inning, she walked into the dugout and told Nicholson there was no way she wasn't finishing the game.

"I said OK, it's all yours," Nicholson said. "I wasn't saying no to her."

Bonstrom thrives on competing on every pitch like it's her last, which today, it will be.

• She's a good teammate.

Bonstrom isn't a one-person show. There is plenty of support on the roster, including senior third baseman Samantha Noland and sophomore catcher Samantha Nettling.

Bonstrom knows how to embrace the help and not make the team's success about her.

"There's no one associated with our team that doesn't respect Kayla to the fullest," Nicholson said.


• What: Division II state championship game

• Who: Canyon del Oro vs. Peoria

• Where: Farrington Softball Stadium, Tempe

• When: 5:30 p.m.

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