Just when it looked as if Sierra Vista Buena was in control of the game, Cholla's confidence and bats kicked into gear.
Buena starting pitcher Cindy Chon had retired 11 of 12 batters after giving up an RBI single in the first, but the Chargers scored four runs in the fifth to take a 5-3 lead on their way to a 6-3 win over the Colts on Thursday.
"The girls are really confident, and their bats are going," Cholla first-year coach Darlene Whitmore said. "We're just playing really well."
The game was part of the Badger Invitational hosted by Tucson High School at Cherry Field. It features 12 teams from around Southern Arizona and runs through Saturday.
The Chargers (10-4) went up 1-0 in the first when pitcher Paty Ruiz hit a triple and then scored on a single up the middle by Elizabeth Cordova.
Buena then took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of that inning when Danielle Stensby knocked a two-run home run over the left field fence to bring in Salana Thomas, who led off with a walk.
"It was supposed to be an inside pitch, but it got to the middle of the plate," Ruiz said about her pitch that went for a home run.
The Colts (7-4) added a lone run in the third when Mikayla Osterman batted in Thomas with a single up the middle.
Then the Chargers - who had been quiet offensively since the first inning - came to life in the fifth and scored four runs with two outs on the board.
"They never give up; this is a tough little team," Whitmore said. "Our lineup is really solid. We don't really have a weakness, and they all execute when they need to."
With one out, Salina Gauna got on because of a throwing error by Buena third baseman Jasmine Rodriguez.
She advanced to third on a bunt by Selena Carribas then scored on a hit to left by Analisa Castro.
Castro advanced when Alysa Cervantez sent a blooper to center and then scored when Ruiz doubled to left to tie the game at 3.
With runners on second and third, Cordova drove a ball to the right-center gap to score two and give Cholla a 5-3 lead.
"I knew we had players on base, and I just wanted to score them and get a hit," Cordova said. "We've been playing really good, so I think we can take this tournament."
That offensive momentum also carried over to the defense. Ruiz retired the next five batters before giving up a hit with two outs in the sixth but did not surrender any runs after the third inning for the complete-game victory.
"Her change-up was stellar, her inside curve was great, and her fastball came across really well," Whitmore said. "She really worked the corners, and I think that's the difference."
The Chargers scored another run in the top of the seventh when Salazar drove in Cervantez with two outs.
Buena coach Mark Schaefer said the loss came down to his team's not being able to adjust to Ruiz's pitches.
"They did a good job and battled, and their pitcher did a good job keeping us off balance," Schaefer said.