Gilbert tried a comeback but fell short as the No. 4-seeded Tigers lost to No. 5 Glendale Mountain Ridge, 7-4, in the first game of the double-elimination portion of the Division I state softball tournament on Thursday night at Rose Mofford Sports Complex.
The Tigers now fall into the losers’ bracket and will face Peoria Centennial on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Rose Mofford. Mountain Ridge faces No. 1 Basha in the quarterfinals, also at 1 p.m.
Gilbert pitcher Lynsey Duncan struggled early with the top of the Mountain Lions' order. After a single to right field by No. 2-hitter Danielle Reynolds, power hitter Corrin Green hit a two-run home run over the left field fence for a quick 2-0 Mountain Lions' lead.
In the third, Green hit a shot to left field that again appeared on its way over the fence, but Gilbert's Alex Astorga made the defensive play of the game as she leaped over the fence - and knocked it over in the process - to make the catch.
“I was pretty excited, I was just thinking about catching the ball and not costing our team another run.” Astorga said.
That play temporarily lit a fire under the Tigers. Gilbert battled back in the bottom of the third and took a 3-2 when Dani Nelson, Marisa Stankiewicz and Dani Bartholf all hit RBI doubles.
That would be the only Tiger lead of the game, as in the sixth inning with the game now tied at 3-3, Alyssa DiCarlo hit her second home run, this one a solo shot over the center field fence. That started a Mountain Ridge onslaught as the Mountain Lions scored two more runs in the sixth and added one in the seventh for some breathing room.
Nelson finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Stankiewicz was 3-for-3 with an RBI to lead Gilbert.
“It was a tough loss, they hit the ball," Tigers coach Shaundra Gutierrez said. "Those two home runs killed us. But we will be good, we will bounce back and the girls are going to do well the rest of the way."