The Chaparral Firebirds broke open a scoreless game on a bases-loaded error at the plate as pitcher Dallas McBride held off the Mountain Ridge Mountain Lions for a 2-0 win in its elimination game Tuesday.
Chaparral (26-11) opened the seventh inning when shortstop Natalie Cravens singled, moved to second on a bunt single and the bases were loaded after a walk. Third baseman Kendra Coleman’s grounder to third was fielded cleanly, thrown home, but misplayed as two runs would cross the plate.
Mountain Ridge (31-4) pitcher Sal Foley settled in to get a strikeout, a Chaparral runner was called out for leaving the bases too soon followed by a pop up.
Mountain Ridge outfielder Lauren Brennan reached on an error after two were out, but McBride won a lengthy at-bat as she struck out designated hitter Becca Werbach to end the game.
Chaparral advances to face Horizon at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on Field 3 at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix.
Chaparral coach Stefanie Ewing said she was glad to see her team win, but after nine hits and eight runners left on base, this was too close for comfort.
“We left a million runners on base,” Ewing said. “We were trying to do too much early in the game. Kendra (Coleman) did a good job and she battled. Dallas (McBride) and she’s on fire and it will be a great night versus Horizon, because they do the right things."
Those teams are familiar with each other, having split their two games during the regular season.
Mountain Ridge coach Michele Markham liked the way her team battled throughout the game, collecting five hits.
“I felt like we were getting stronger and we were hitting the ball more,” Markham said. “If we had gone to extra innings, we’d be fine. It’s something to fuel them for next year. This team has been phenomenal all year and we only lost two games going into the state playoffs.”