Centennial softball’s lead off hitter and No. 2 hitter went 7-for-8 and scored four runs as the Coyotes advanced to the third round of the 5A-II state softball tournament with a 7-1 win against No. 16-seed Yuma.
Centennial will face No. 4 Pinnacle at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Sandra Day O’Connor High School, 25250 N. 35
Ave. in Phoenix.
After dropping their tournament opener to No. 8 Gilbert Perry, 4-3, Coyotes coach Mike Repak said he told the girls to be more aggressive at the plate and on the bases. It paid off in the fifth.
Centennial’s fifth inning rally nearly ended before it began. Senior Katie Benford was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and advanced to third on junior Destinee Luna’s single to right. Luna broke for second on the next pitch and when the throw went to the bag Benford broke for home. Yuma’s Alicia Stephens cut off the throw and fired back to the plate to get Benford. Luna then stole third on the next pitch and shortstop Krystal Garcia knocked her with an RBI single and moved to second on the throw home.
Garcia followed with a stolen base and centerfielder Abby Beasley kept the one-out rally alive with an RBI single.
“We brought the speed today,” Repak said. “I have a few girls who always have the green light. They have great natural instinct on the base paths and can make things happen.”
Beasley later scored on a single by freshman pitcher Paige Mills and junior Samantha Munoz brought her in with a base hit.
The Coyotes tacked on another run in the sixth as Luna hit a two-out double and scored on Garcia’s bloop single to right.
“We played well and the bats came alive today,” Repak said. “We also had strong pitching. She had good velocity and really hit her spots.”
Mills, pitching in her first state tournament, allowed six hits and struck out one while stranding five base runners.