Sabino scored nine runs in the third inning and fought off a late rally by Cienega for a vital 10-6 road win Thursday night.

"It doesn't get any bigger," coach Jeff Fowler said about the win. "That's a good team over there."

Fowler said the win is very big in helping the Sabercats get a host seed and a first-round bye in the Division II tournament, with three regular-season games remaining.

"We had to beat them for that, and we still have to win the rest of our games to make sure we have a chance," he added.

The Sabercats (21-5-1) needed only one big inning to essentially lock up the win. Sabino pitcher Alyssa Fletcher went the distance and overcame a shaky final inning.

"All my pitches were working pretty well, and we were all really fired up, and that definitely helped me in the circle," Fletcher said.

Cienega's Destinee Williams led off in the bottom of the seventh with a pinch-hit triple and scored one batter later when Shelby Kennedy got on with an error.

That made it a 10-2 game.

Three batters later, Valerie Luera drove Kennedy in with the bases loaded on an RBI groundout to make it 10-3.

Immediately after that, Melanie Cross narrowed Sabino's lead to four runs when she drove a three-run home run over the center field fence.

But that was it for the Bobcats. Three batters later, Allie Subia flied out to left to end the game.

Cienega coach Eric Tatham said he was happy to see his squad rallying for five runs in the final inning despite being down nine.

For a while, it looked like the Bobcats (15-9-1) were going to match Sabino's nine-run third.

"Any time you can get three or four, that's a nice inning," Fowler said. "Everything after that's icing on the cake."

In the Sabino third, Kelsey Jenkins started the inning with a walk and scored on a single by Callie McGarrigle .

The other eight runs came with two outs.

Miranda Riesgo later scored on a bases-loaded walk to Krystina Koepnick to keep the bags full.

Then an error at first base on a grounder by Shannon Shields allowed another two runs to score to put Sabino up 4-0. Fletcher then drove in Koepnick on a line-drive single to center.

Jenkins, making her second trip to the plate of the inning, walked again to re-load the bases.

Haley Scheib cleared the bags with a triple to dead center to put Sabino up 8-0. She scored the final run of the inning after a pitching change.

"I was just thinking I needed to drive something to the outfield and score some runs," Scheib said. "I really wanted to get the team pumped up because this was a big game to us."

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