PHOENIX - After falling into the losers bracket of the Division II state softball tournament Wednesday, defending champion Canyon del Oro had to make a statement if it wanted to defend that title.
"I was going with my heart out, putting my heart on the field to get this win for my team, and it happened because we weren't going to lose this game," said CDO starter Alexis Alfonso.
That statement was delivered with a 10-0 win over Glendale Raymond S. Kellis on Saturday at the Rose Mofford softball complex. Second-seeded CDO was one of two Southern Arizona teams that survived elimination games. No. 4 Ironwood Ridge scored an unearned run to beat No. 9 Goodyear Verrado 1-0 and advance.
In Division I, second-seeded Cienega was eliminated 12-3 by No. 14 Scottsdale Chaparral.
CDO awaits the loser of Monday's meeting between Salpointe and Peoria Sunrise Mountain. The Dorados will play on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. at Rose Mofford. Ironwood Ridge (26-10) will play at the same time on an adjacent field against the loser of Monday's Glendale Cactus-Phoenix Greenway matchup.
"Coming into this game we knew that we had to prove something," said CDO coach Stephanie Nicholson. "Getting into the losing bracket again, knowing that the team we have this year isn't (like) our team (we had) last year. We have to work a lot harder to make it to the championship game."
All CDO needed was a big inning - an 8-run first - to give Alfonso some confidence against No. 3 Kellis.
"When they scored the first eight runs, it made me more comfortable," Alfonso said. "If we keep doing that, we are going to win state."
After walking two in the first, Alfonso retired 14 straight before surrendering a single up the middle in the sixth and finishing with a one-hitter. When Monique Castillo was hit by a pitch and the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, the game was ended by run rule.
The Dorados (30-5) jumped on Cougars starter Jessico Rojo, and her defense fell apart behind her. CDO scored its eight runs on five hits and four Kellis errors.
Heather Knight hit a ground ball between the legs of the Kellis shortstop, scoring two runs. Kate Klotz, a junior varsity player this season, knocked in two more later in the inning, and Brenna Griesser doubled in the sixth and seventh runs as CDO sent 12 hitters to the plate.
After that it was just a matter of time before CDO built its 10-run lead because Alfonso was hitting spots, striking out six and never allowing a runner past second.
In the other Division II game, Ironwood Ridge's Robyn Porter walked, reached third after two outs and scored when Merilee Miller grounded back to the box, but Verrado pitcher Morgan Brown threw wide of first.
In Division I, Chaparral had six hits against two Cienega pitchers in eliminating the Bobcats (26-6).