After suffering a tough loss to Horizon last Thursday, No. 3 Xavier jumped out to an early lead against No. 7 Yuma Cibola and never looked back in defeating the Raiders, 8-1, in a Division I softball state tournament elimination game on Saturday at the Rose Mofford Softball Complex in Phoenix.
Senior pitcher Natalie Both led the way for the Gators pitching a complete game two-hitter. while her team rallied behind her with two runs in the bottom of the first for the only run support Both (18-5) needed.
Other than having to pitch out of trouble in the first when she walked two and committed an error that resulted in Cibola loading the bases with two outs, Both was in control. She gave up her only run allowed in the third off the bat of Melissa Padilla, then cruised the rest of the way with eight strikeouts in the game as Xavier tacked on six more insurance runs.
The Gators are will take on No.1 Basha in another elimination game on Tuesday. First pitch is 6:30 p.m. at Rose Mofford Complex. The Bears defeated Xavier, 6-4, when they met on April 17.
In Division IV state tournament action, No. 12 Valley Christian was coming off an upset of No. 5 Phoenix Country Day. But playing its third game in three days, fatigue might have finally caught up with the Trojans, as No. 4 Phoenix Northwest Christian eliminated the Trojans from the Division IV state tournament, 8-4, on Saturday at the Rose Mofford Softball Complex.
The Trojans struggled to hit Crusaders’ pitcher Elizabeth Bostwick earlier in the season, but made some adjustments and jumped out to an early 2-0 lead to start the game.
After Valley Christian tacked on another run in the top of the second to push their lead to 3-1, Phoenix Christian scored four runs in the bottom of the second, and Bostwick settled down to allow only one more run the rest of the way.
The Trojans ended their season with a 12-9 record overall.