HS softball championship: Party time for Dorados

Tough-as-nails CDO comes through to claim state hardware
2012-05-15T00:00:00Z 2012-05-15T09:17:48Z HS softball championship: Party time for DoradosDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 15, 2012 12:00 am  • 

TEMPE - Kayla Bonstrom learned about the five-second rule years ago from her father, Bruce.

"When something bad happens in softball, you have five seconds to get over it and then it's on to the next pitch," Bonstrom explained.

The rule was in full effect for the Canyon del Oro senior Monday night in the Division II state championship game against Peoria Sunrise Mountain at Farrington Stadium.

CDO led 9-5 when Bonstrom surrendered a grand slam to McKenzie St. Clair with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the seventh inning to pull the Mustangs even.

The Stanford-bound star then answered minutes later in the top of the eighth with a two-run shot to give the Dorados an 11-9 lead, which held up to be the final score.

Bonstrom's homer gave the Dorados their fifth state championship in the last six seasons.

"That's what Kayla Bonstrom does," said senior third baseman Samantha Noland, who had a grand slam of her own in CDO's win. "She never quits."

For CDO (33-5), it also was the school's second straight and sixth state championship trophy in eight years. To add to the drama this season, the Dorados battled from the losers bracket after falling to Ironwood Ridge earlier in the double-elimination tournament.

"We've battled adversity all season - all tournament," CDO coach Stephanie Nicholson said. "That's why when they hit the grand slam, I still fully believed we could win. We're never out of it."

After Makenzie Sullivan hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh to give CDO a 9-4 lead, it looked like it would be a drama-free title for the Dorados.

Instead, Sunrise Mountain loaded the bases with two outs and got it to 9-5 after Melissa Sechrest drew a walk. St. Clair then came to bat, got the count to 2-2 and unloaded a homer to right-center field to tie the game. Bonstrom struck out the next hitter to send the game to extras.

"When Kayla came into the dugout, I didn't say a thing to her," Nicholson said. "I just wanted her to do her thing."

Hannah Sullivan started the inning with a lead-off single and moved to second on a wild pitch. After a pop-out to the third baseman, Bonstrom came to the plate with one out and first base open.

Rather than put the slugger on, Sunrise Mountain opted to go after Bonstrom, who came into the at-bat 0 for 2 with two hit-by-pitches.

"I really thought she would keep going inside on me because she had success with it and gotten me out a couple of times," Bonstrom said of lefty starter Taylor Nowlin. "I guessed lucky, because she did go inside and I was ready for it."

The blast sailed over the right field wall, and her teammates emptied the dugout to greet Bonstrom at home plate. It was a far cry from the scene just minutes before.

"It's hard to put that feeling into words," she said. "Just amazing."

Bonstrom earned the win with another complete game - her fifth of the postseason.

Her catcher, sophomore Samantha Nettling, finished 2 for 5 with a solo home run in the first. Senior shortstop Briana Dohogne and senior left fielder Katelin Vaughn also had multiple-hit games in the win.

The loss dropped Sunrise Mountain to 33-2. The Mustangs came into the game ranked No. 22 nationally in the MaxPreps Xcellent Top 25 and ranked even higher than that in other polls.

"We knew how good they were and we knew how tough it was going to be," Nicholson said. "No one was scared. Everyone wanted the challenge.

"That's why I love this team."

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