PHOENIX - The past has been less than perfect and the future is uncertain.
But right now, right this second, the Salpointe Catholic softball team has found its happy place.
The No. 9 Lancers won their fourth straight elimination game Tuesday, this time a 2-0 victory over No. 4 Phoenix Xavier at Rose Mofford Softball Complex, to earn a spot in today's Pool A final.
Salpointe will face No. 1 Phoenix St. Mary's at 5 p.m. at Rose Mofford. Two wins means a trip to the state championship game.
"We're coming out strong and the girls are mentally and physically there," Lancers interim coach Rockie Guevara said. "This is what we wanted all season. Kind of (bad) that they waited till this time, but it's the right time. I'm not complaining."
Salpointe's somewhat rocky season was highlighted by two glaring losses. First, it was the loss of its coach, Ted Farhat, who departed late in the year for personal reasons.
Then, the Lancers lost the opening game of the double-elimination state tourney, turning every subsequent contest into a do-or-die situation.
Yet somehow, behind pitcher Paige Peterson, Salpointe has found a way to keep winning.
"We're definitely rolling," Peterson said. "A few minor bumps, but we're still rolling."
Tuesday was Peterson's second straight shutout. The junior allowed one hit and walked two, while fanning eight.
Meanwhile, the Lancers' bats came up big late in the game.
Dana Hughes led off the fifth with a double, then scored on a Katie Morgan slapper that led to a Xavier error.
"I was just kind of thinking I should jump on the first pitch and get a base hit," Hughes said. "It was the fifth inning and we really needed to score."
Peterson worked in and out of a jam in the sixth before retiring the side in order in the seventh.
The Lancers earned approximately 23 hours to celebrate.
Today lurks their biggest challenge of the season in St. Mary's and pitcher Dallas Escobedo, one of the top arms in the state.