There’s nothing like a little music to soothe the soul.
Apparently it’s a great way to relax a pitcher in a win-or-go-home softball game.
To say Tamara Statman was relaxed would be an understatement. The Horizon sophomore allowed just three hits and struck out 16 in Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over Desert Ridge in a Division I elimination round.
In fact, the first 13 outs recorded by Horizon were strike outs by the Jaguars.
“Right now there’s no safety net for us,” Statman said.
The between-innings music, mostly recorded long before Statman was born, was just what Statman needed. Admitting she knew that music, she was even singing along as she warmed up.
With the victory the Huskies (29-5) stay alive in the state tournament. Another elimination-round win Wednesday against Chaparral would put them in the semifinals. Their next loss will send them home.
But on Tuesday, it was the Jaguars (23-10) who had their unprecedented season end, mostly because of Statman.
“I like sending other teams home,” Statman said. “My riseball is working a lot better. The last half of the season I have just felt better throwing the ball.”
The only jam Statman got into was in the fourth inning when Desert Ridge catcher Chryse Hausenfluck singled, stole second and then went to third base on catcher Margaret Stahm’s throwing error. But Statman struck out two more Jaguars to get out of the inning.
In the top of the seventh, Lexi Appel led off with a single for Desert Ridge, giving the Jaguars one last hope. But Sarah Captain fouled out and then Statman got a strike-out, throw-out double play to end the game.
“The last inning is the hardest inning for me,” Statman said. “A lot of times I have trouble closing games.”
But not on Tuesday.
The only run Horizon needed came in the bottom of the sixth inning. Kaila Jocobi started things with a double. She went to third on a fly ball to centerfield and then scored on a single by Jenna Beeso. Desert Ridge had moved its infield in and Beeso’s pop up landed just out of reach of shortstop Jackie Hernandez.
The Huskies managed only four hits off Desert Ridge freshman pitcher Bailey Klitzke, as the left-hander kept Horizon hitters off balance the entire game with her speed and location.
Bailey, who injured her non-throwing hand in Monday’s loss to Red Mountain, started off shaky by hitting the first batter and then walking the second. But she retired the next three hitters to get out of the inning.