Cienega's Sarah Andrews bided her time on the bench against Mesa in the first round of the Division I playoffs on Saturday.
She knew her opportunity would come, she just didn't know when. Then when the Bobcats loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth inning, the junior knew the opportunity to blow the game open would belong to her.
Andrews delivered a two-strike triple to right field, driving in three and extending Cienega's lead to 4-0. The host Bobcats went on to win 7-0, advancing to Tuesday's second round where they will take on Glendale Mountain Ridge.
"Being down to the last strike was so nerve-wracking," Andrews said. "Sitting on the bench and coming in and getting it done for your team is the best feeling."
Andrews led an efficient Bobcats offense that stranded just one runner on base all afternoon.
Cienega freshman pitcher Kayla Green dazzled, allowing five hits and striking out eight on her way to a shutout.
Green kept the Jackrabbits offense from mounting any sort of major rally. The closest Mesa came was in the sixth. Trailing 4-0, the Jackrabbits had runners on first and second with one out, but center fielder Alisha Schomoker lined into a 6-4 double play to end the threat.
"Kayla's a great pitcher and she's starting to really have the poise in the circle," Cienega coach Eric Tatham said.
Cienega got the scoring started in the second on a Makena Brawley squeeze bunt following a one-out triple from catcher Melanie Cross. Then after the three-run fourth, the Bobcats added three more in the sixth.
With two outs and a runner on third, Brawley struck out swinging and the ball squirted far enough away from Mesa catcher Melissa Millagan to allow the run to score and Brawley to reach first.
Then designated player A.J. Hervey laced an inside-the-park home run down the first-base line, scoring two and making the lead 7-0.
• Sierra Vista Buena 4, Phoenix St. Mary's 2: Kaitlin Wilson moved to 16-3 on the season, tossing a complete game and giving up just three hits in the Colts' first-round win.
• Tucson 5, Lake Havasu 3: Jaylyn Romo and Aracely Vargas both homered as the 22nd-seeded Badgers pulled off the upset on the road after giving up three runs in the first.
• Scottsdale Desert Mountain 11, Sunnyside 1: The 24th-seeded Blue Devils fell in six innings and finished their season 15-15.
• Sahuaro 5, Glendale Kellis 0: The Cougars picked up their fourth straight shutout and ninth straight win to advance to a second-round matchup with Ironwood Ridge.
• Scottsdale Notre Dame 3, Douglas 0: Tenth-seeded Notre Dame broke a scoreless tie in the sixth inning with three runs and went on to eliminate the Bulldogs.