May 13, 2005
Desert Mountain dug itself a big hole early Thursday night against Tucson Canyon del Oro, and all of the Wolves’ attempts to salvage their season came up empty.
Canyon del Oro, the Southern Region No. 1 seed, scored four runs in the first inning and kept Desert Mountain at bay until the Dorados opened the floodgates late and won 11-3 at the UA’s Hillenbrand Stadium.
Wolves coach Rich Sharp was reluctant to say his team ran into a buzzsaw in the Class 5A state tournament semifinal round, but Canyon del Oro’s 16 hits against a pair of Desert Mountain pitchers suggested otherwise.
Starting pitcher Lauren Kemp (22-11), who had been phenomenal in throwing four shutouts in the past seven games, was clearly off her game. The Dorados (27-3) took full advantage.
"My poor pitcher; she was up there around 50 something innings coming in, in the last eight or nine games, and she hit a wall tonight," Sharp said. "I’m not saying Canyon del Oro can’t score runs, but I’ve been paying attention and they don’t score runs like that.
"We didn’t help her either. We made some big errors that made things easier for them."
Desert Mountain made things interesting in the bottom of the second with a rally against Canyon del Oro starter Tanya Groff. A bloop single by Whitney Phillips loaded the bases for Stefanie Ewing, who proceeded to clear them with a three-run double to make it 4-3.
But after Groff was pulled an inning later, Canyon del Oro’s Dana Alcocer (17-3) retired 10 of the next 11 batters. In the meantime, the Dorados went to work on Kemp until she was pulled for Meredith Whitney in the top of the sixth.
Whitney’s first pitch was belted into the left-field grandstands for Alcocer’s eighth home run of the season.
In the other 5A semifinal, Phoenix St. Mary’s defeated Peoria Sunrise Mountain, 10-0.
- TYLER HANSEN