HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL STATE PLAYOFFS

HS softball: Nighthawk strategy pays off

Intentional walk, then strikeout preserve close win over CDO
2012-05-06T00:00:00Z 2012-05-06T16:25:53Z HS softball: Nighthawk strategy pays offDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 06, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Ironwood Ridge coach Randy Anway wasn't going to let Kayla Bonstrom beat his Nighthawks.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, with his team clinging to a one-run lead with two outs and a runner on second, Ironwood Ridge pitcher Makayla McAdams walked Canyon del Oro's Bonstrom on four pitches to put the winning run at first base.

"We wanted someone else to have to step up," said Anway of pitching around Bonstrom, who was 1 for 1 with a home run and four walks in the game.

McAdams responded to the move by striking out the next batter, Hannah Sullivan, on three pitches, giving the Nighthawks a 9-8 win over the Dorados in the fourth round of the Division II state tournament at Cherry Field.

"It was extremely hard to focus in because you're one out away, but you just have to slow everything down and not get ahead of yourself," McAdams said.

It was Ironwood Ridge's third win over defending 4A-I state champion CDO in four tries, with two of the victories coming by one run. The Nighthawks will now face Peoria Sunrise Mountain Wednesday in Phoenix with the winner advancing to the state championship game.

The Dorados will play Yuma Gila Ridge on Tuesday, also in Phoenix, in an elimination game.

It looked for a while on Saturday like it would be the other way around. CDO scored four runs in the first and added two more in the fourth to take a 6-1 lead.

Coach Stephanie Nicholson's squad got a three-run home run from Makenzie Sullivan in the first and a two-run double from Samantha Noland in the fourth.

The Nighthawks answered in the fifth with five runs to tie it up. Robin Landrith started the rally with a two-out, two-run homer.

The game stayed tied until the top of the seventh when a little controversy came alive.

The Nighthawks had runners on second and third and Robyn Porter up with one out. Porter hit a low line drive to CDO shortstop Briana Dohogne, who thought she snagged it cleanly and fired to second base for a double play.

It appeared the Dorados were out of the inning and ready to bat in the bottom of the seventh of a tied game.

Instead, the umpires ruled the ball hit the dirt before it got to Dohogne. The runner on third scored and the runner on second was deemed safe because she wasn't tagged.

"I saw a catch and a double play, that's what I saw," Nicholson said. "But, that's not what it was."

The Nighthawks added two more runs after that play, which they needed when CDO responded with two in the bottom half of the inning.

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